Chinese film market starts 2024 with stronger Spring Festival performance

February 13, 2024
Updated 2024/02/13 at 6:50 PM
3 Min Read

BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) — The 2024 Spring Festival box office in China has roared past 3.5 billion yuan (492.7 million U.S. dollars) within the holiday’s initial three days, marking a year-on-year increase of nearly 17 percent.

Running from Feb. 10 to 17 this year, the Spring Festival period traditionally serves as a lucrative period for movie ticket sales. The extended holiday of eight days is anticipated to draw more movie-goers to cinemas, promising a robust start to the Chinese film market in 2024.

On Feb. 10, eight films debuted, vying for audience attention. Among them, the domestic comedy-drama “YOLO,” directed by and starring renowned comedian Jia Ling, emerged as the highest-grossing title so far, generating over 1.3 billion yuan in revenue as of Tuesday morning, according to box office tracker Dengta Data.

This success narrowly edged out the comedy “Pegasus 2,” which earned nearly 1.2 billion yuan in its first three days of release. Written and directed by writer-turned-director and racing driver Han Han, the film serves as a sequel to his 2019 Spring Festival holiday hit “Pegasus.”

In the Spring Festival box office rankings, the animation “Boonie Bears: Time Twist” secured the third spot, amassing a total revenue of 714 million yuan since its debut.

Most of the films hitting the big screen during this Spring Festival holiday share the same traits: focusing on the lives of ordinary people or social issues.

Compared to the film market during the previous Spring Festivals, film audiences in this Spring Festival may not be dazzled by blockbusters like “The Wandering Earth II,” but can certainly find something they can resonate with or are familiar with in the films.

For instance, acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou, who offered audiences the historical blockbuster “Full River Red” a year ago, presented a realistic drama, “Article 20.” The film, focusing on the 20th article about justifiable defense in China’s Criminal Law, is inspired by the public discussion about how justifiable defense can be determined in handling lawsuits.

So far, in China’s online film ranking platform Douban, the film has garnered a rating of 7.9/10, with many reviews praising its story and its spirit of upholding judicial justice.

“It is Zhang Yimou’s most close-to-life work in recent years,” wrote one review. “By depicting small aspects of daily life, he managed to present the society in its microscopic detail.”

Similarly, “YOLO,” which tells the inspiring story of a woman who regains control of her life by training to be a boxer, was warmly received by audiences for its realistic depiction of rising above challenges.

Cheng Zhangli, a filmgoer in Beijing, shed tears when watching the film. “The heroine’s unbending spirit moved me so much,” she said.

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