Patriotic omnibus leads China's holiday box office

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A scene from  My People, My Homeland. [Photo/Mtime]

"My People, My Homeland," a patriotic comedy feature comprised of five stories, topped China's box office during the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival holiday from Oct. 1 to 8.

Released on Oct. 1, both the National Day and this year's Mid-Autumn Festival, the anthology film raked in 1.87 billion yuan (about 276 million U.S. dollars), almost half of China's total box office receipts of over 3.95 billion yuan during the holiday that saw nearly 100 million moviegoers visit theaters, according to data compiled by the China Movie Data Information Network.

Widely referred to as a follow-up to the 2019 National Day holiday blockbuster "My People, My Country," "My People, My Homeland" adopts a similar storytelling technique of collective creation -- one film contains multiple stories by different directors. It has Zhang Yimou, one of the best-known Chinese filmmakers, as the executive producer, and Ning Hao as the general director.

Hitting theaters on the same day, "Jiang Ziya: Legend of Deification," an animated feature from the companies behind last year's China box office hit "Ne Zha," came second with about 1.38 billion yuan.

Focussing on the poverty battle across China, "My People, My Homeland" earned 87.5 points out of 100 in the latest China film audience satisfaction survey that covered five Chinese movies shown during the holiday. "Leap," a sports film about the Chinese women's volleyball team starring Gong Li, and youth film "Coffee or Tea," immediately followed, with 86.4 points and 85.5 points, respectively.

Among all the films so far covered by the survey that was launched in early 2015, "My People, My Homeland" was the top-scoring film this year, and the second-highest-rated National Day holiday film ever, after last year's "My People, My Country," which won a record high of 91 points.

The overall audience satisfaction with Chinese films screened during the holiday also reached 85.5 points, the third-highest ever recorded by the survey, which has so far covered 35 seasonal and holiday screening periods.

Co-conducted by the China Film Art Research Center, the China film audience satisfaction survey is a film evaluation system independent of the China film box office. The survey adopts methods of on-site sampling surveys at theaters, online surveys of film industry workers and experts, and big data analysis to comprehensively evaluate domestic films from the perspectives of screen depiction, ideological content and film popularity.

Though a lower figure than last year's holiday box office of nearly 4.4 billion yuan generated from Oct. 1 to 7, the box office for the outgoing holiday has been widely hailed as a mark of the steady recovery of China's box office market. It remained for years the world's second-largest but, according to a wrap-up piece carried by the China Film News, could soon become the biggest.

Oct. 3 saw China's 2020 box office hit 10 billion yuan. On Oct. 8, China's box office also crossed the 10-billion-yuan mark since theaters reopened on July 20.

As of Friday evening, China's box office receipts this year totaled over 12.3 billion yuan, according to the China Movie Data Information Network figures. Of these, the critically-acclaimed epic war film "The Eight Hundred," which was released on Aug. 21, contributed a quarter, or more than 3 billion yuan.

"My People, My Country" and "Jiang Ziya: Legend of Deification" were the second and third-biggest contributors, grossing nearly 1.92 billion yuan and 1.39 billion yuan, respectively.

An increasing number of major films have unveiled their release dates in China since theaters reopened.

The latest is the highly anticipated "Detective Chinatown 3," the newest installment in China's well-received "Detective Chinatown" film franchise.

A sequel to the 2018 comedy hit "Detective Chinatown 2" that grossed 3.4 billion yuan at the box office, "Detective Chinatown 3" is set for theatrical release in China during the Spring Festival that falls in February 2021. 

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