Posters of the Chinese science fiction film The Wandering Earth 2. Photo: VCG
The box office of the seven-day 2023 Chinese Lunar New Year holidays – the first Spring Festival holidays after China optimized its COVID-19 response –exceeded 1 billion yuan ($147 million) on Sunday morning, as people’s enthusiasm for movies saw an expected increase.
The box office totaled 1.8 billion yuan as of 10:20 pm on Sunday, including pre-sales tickets, with the Chinese science fiction film The Wandering Earth 2 topping the list, according to data from the live movie information tracing app Dengta.
“I have been waiting for The Wandering Earth 2 and already booked tickets for me and my parents,” a resident from the East China’s Anhui Province surnamed Li told the Global Times on Sunday.
Li said it was the first time for her parents to go to the theater since COVID-19 broke out three years ago. And she plans to watch other movies with her friends later in the holidays.
“I will take my son and nephew to watch the animated film – Booie Bears,” a resident surnamed Qin from Shenzhen, South China’s Guangdong Province, told the Global Times.
A total of seven films will hit cinemas during the holidays, and one highlight of the film period is its great variety of genres, covering sci-fi adventure, period suspense, sports drama, comedy and fantasy animation.
The lineup includes five live-action films – the sequel to sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth, Chinese director Zhang Yimou’s Full River Red, Hidden Blade starring Hong Kong veteran Tony Leung and Chinese mainland star Wang Yibo, Ping-Pong of China starring Deng Chao and the comedy Five Hundred Miles – and two animated feature films, Deep Sea and Boonie Bears: Guardian Code.
Total box office of the seven films may exceed 10 billion yuan, media reports said, citing estimates from the Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan.
According to Dengta, the box office of The Wandering Earth 2 has exceeded 600 million yuan as of 10:20 pm on Sunday, with a total of 370,000 sessions scheduled on the day. The Full River Red ranked No.2 with a box office exceeding 541 million yuan and 372,000 sessions scheduled.
Hidden Blade ranked third and Boonie Bears ranked fourth.
The quality of the films during this year’s Spring Festival holidays is better than that that of past few years, and the lower ticket prices compared with that of the last Spring Festival period is expected to attract more audiences to the theaters, Xiang Kai, a film director based in East China’s Zhejiang Province, told the Global Times.
The average ticket price is 55.5 yuan, according to Dengta’s data on Sunday, 0.7 yuan lower than that of last Spring Festival holidays.