China's box office sets new records on New Year's Day

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, January 4, 2021
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China's box office total for films screened during the New Year's Day holiday weekend reached nearly $200 million, a new record.

According to Beacon, an Alibaba-developed box office tracker and big data platform, all films screened during the three-day holiday together grossed 1.29 billion yuan ($198 million), higher than the figure of 1.27 billion in 2018.

On New Year's Day, the total box office gross was 600 million yuan, breaking the single day box office record during this period.

The big three, the cancer-afflicted family drama "A Little Red Flower," the comedy "Warm Hug," and the explosive action film "Shock Wave 2" contributed most to the box office total.

The top three biggest earners during the 2021 New Year's Day holiday: "A Little Red Flower," "Warm Hug," and "Shock Wave 2." [Photo/]

"A Little Red Flower" by Han Yan, who also directed "Go Away Mr. Tumor," is another film from him portraying life and death. This time, the story focuses on the lives of several loving people dying from cancer and how their families are going to deal with this — especially the two young protagonists who fall in love. 

Literally "A Little Red Flower" was the last film of 2020 as it debuted on the last evening of the year, at 6 p.m., and chimed well with the needs of the moment for audiences flocking to cinemas to look for solutions and comfort. 

The film secured top place of the box office chart after its debut on Dec. 31, grossing 236 million yuan in that one evening, and then continued to soar during the holiday weekend. It had already grossed 758 million yuan by Sunday, and is set to earn more in the coming weeks.

"Warm Hug," a comedy about how a perfectionist patient with an obsessive-compulsive disorder helps a desperate female musician to return to the top of the music landscape, had grossed 522 million yuan since it debuted on the last day of 2020.

"Shock Wave 2," a story about a disabled bomb-disposal expert overcome by his dark side, was at number three during the holiday, grossing 274 million yuan. However, it actually opened on Dec. 24, so, combining previous earnings, the total gross was 822 million yuan up to Sunday night.

The box office records are made when theaters strictly implement 75% attendance and other pandemic prevention and control requirements as a new wave of COVID-19 starts surging in some Chinese cities.

Also, the Dec. 31 debuts of "A Little Red Flower" and "Warm Hug," together with others on the screen, helped China to break the 20-billion-yuan milestone for coronavirus-marred 2020, hauling in 20.4 billion yuan in box office receipts.

It is interesting to note Disney and Pixar's "Soul," a critically-claimed animated feature, stood at No. 4 during New Year's Day holiday, earning 89.77 million yuan within the three-day period. It debuted on Christmas Day, with very low screen allotment and very low box office performance of 4.48 million yuan. 

However, due to an incredible word-of-mouth phenomenon from the audience, it eventually became a dark horse in the Chinese market, reaching 168 million yuan by Sunday, a big-part contribution to its worldwide total as it was directly sent to streaming on Disney+ rather than theaters in its supposed biggest market of North America where the COVID-19 is still raging and only about 30% of American cinemas currently are open. 

China, currently the biggest film market in the world, could witness another peak during the seven-day Spring Festival starting from Feb. 12, where high-profile blockbusters "Detective Chinatown 3," "Assassin in Red," "New Gods: Ne Zha Reborn" and "Endgame" are about to open and ignite the market, once the pandemic prevention and control measures prove effective then. The Spring Festival holiday is the most profitable film season in China; however, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, last year's festival season was canceled and theaters were all shut down.

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