'Leap' revives memories of China women's volleyball team

By Zhang Rui and Guo Yiming
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, September 28, 2020
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A special edition IMAX poster for the movie "Leap." According to IMAX China, their top-rated sound system and giant screens provide an immersive atmosphere for audiences to experience the volleyball matches and revive people's fond memories of the sport. [Image courtesy of IMAX China]

Peter Chan's much-anticipated sports film "Leap" eventually hit the big screen in China on Sept. 25 after its original January release date was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Produced by Alibaba Pictures, the film shines a spotlight on the China women's national volleyball team. Depicting the struggles of several generations of the Chinese team in their attempts to achieve national glory, the film spans a period of 35 years from 1981 to 2016. It is set to resonate with Chinese people and evoke nostalgic memories.

Known as the "Iron Hammer" for her powerful spikes when she was a player, Lang Ping is now the head coach of the China women's national volleyball team. Lang is the first person in the sport to win Olympic gold medal as both a player (1984) and as a coach (2016), and also headed the U.S. women's team from 2005-2008, leading them to a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Lang Ping's daughter Lydia Lang Bai, plays the younger version of her mother, while celebrated Chinese actress Gong Li takes on the role of Lang during her coaching years.

In just two days, the film has already raked in around 130 million yuan and taken the top spot of China's daily box office chart, according to box office tracking and big data platform Lighthouse.

The movie was originally slated for release in Chinese theaters on Jan. 24, Chinese Lunar New Year's Eve, but the sudden COVID-19 outbreak forced movie theaters nationwide to close their doors for months. Now the sports blockbuster will join action movie "Vanguard" starring Jackie Chan, animated feature "Legend of Deification" featuring the mythological figure of Jiang Ziya, and Chinese comedy anthology "My People, My Homeland," each vying for success during the upcoming eight-day National Day holiday.

"Leap" has also hit over 80 selected theaters in cities across the U.S. including Boston, Chicago, Denver, Houston and Irvine with Chinese and English subtitles on Friday.

Movie theaters in China raised their cap on seating to 75% of maximum capacity starting Friday, up from the previous 50%. This move will help spur the further recovery of the world's second-largest box-office market amid the COVID-19 epidemic.

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