Culture\Film and TV

A month of screen fun

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-11 06:49

Every Friday in May will see the release of at least one big-budget Hollywood film. It started with Marvel's superheroes in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but more are on the way. Xu Fan reports.

A bunch of blockbusters is making its way to the mainland's screens. This month, around 40 movies - including eight imports - have hit or will premiere in mainland theaters.

With a visual feast in store for fans, every Friday in May will see the release of at least one big-budget Hollywood film.

So far, Marvel's superheroes are the frontrunners, with simultaneous releases in both China and North America on May 5.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is now at the top of China's box-office charts with 420 million yuan ($61 million) in six days, according to the live tracker

The sequel is about the continuing space adventures of the Guardians, a gang of eccentric heroes who aim to protect the universe.

The film's cast features stars like Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana, as well as Stan Lee and Sylvester Stallone.

A month of screen fun

Though Chinese fans like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, with its all-star cast and action-packed spectacles - giving it 8.3 points out of 10 on, a popular reviewing site - the film has encountered a powerful rival from India.

Dangal, based on the true story of a former wrestler, starring Aamir Khan, has seen its screenings rise from 13 percent of all Chinese screens on its May 5 debut to nearly 22 percent on May 10. Typically, the figure drops in the days following the premiere.

Its score on Douban, a barometer of a movie's popularity in China, has risen from 8.8 to 9.3 points.

The acclaim has boosted Dangal's box-office revenues to 129 million yuan, making it the highest-grossing Indian movie in China.

But there is a bit of disappointment for local fans as the Chinese version of Dangal is around 20 minutes shorter, compared with the 169-minute original that opened in India in December 2016.

A month of screen fun

"The cuts were deliberately made by Khan as he attaches great importance to China's huge market. He wanted the length to be in line with what the Chinese are used to," says a source close to the Chinese distributor, Huaxia Film Distribution Co.

Khan is among the most famous Indian stars in China for his previous hits - 3 Idiots and PK, which were released in China in 2011 and 2015.

Meanwhile, the source, who declined to be identified, says that Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, the highest-grossing Indian movie of all time, may also be brought to China as local interest in Indian movies is growing.

It seems a bit early to make predictions about the fate of Bollywood films in China, as Hollywood's dominance, at least for now, seems unshakeable.

Warner Bros' fantasy epic King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Lionsgate Films' teen-superhero film Power Rangers will be released simultaneously in Chinese cinemas on May 12.

Both cost more than $100 million and have plenty of action.

Five domestic titles will also be released the same day. Most of them are low-budget comedies or coming-of-age romances.

The possibility of them posing a challenge to the Hollywood blockbusters seems remote, says Jiang Yong, a Beijing-based industry watcher.

The following Friday, May 19, will see three imports, including the alien horror movie Life, the dark fantasy drama A Monster Calls and Russian superhero film Guardians hit mainland screens.

Life, seen by some as a modern version of the 1979 classic Alien, is now among the most anticipated films on some Chinese movie-fan websites, such as

The film starts off with the discovery that life exists on Mars and then takes a bloody, thrilling twist.

But the most anticipated movie is Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which will simultaneously debut in China and North America on May 26, two days ahead of China's Dragon Boat Festival holiday.

"The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has a huge fan base in China. So, it could easily end up earning more than any other movie in May," says Jiang.

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 A month of screen fun

This month sees the release of eight imported movies, including Life, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Dangal, in mainland theaters. Photos Provided To China Daily

(China Daily 05/11/2017 page19)

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