Chinese sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth is, as of last Sunday afternoon, the second most popular film of all time in China based on box office receipts, according to Chinese online-ticketing platform Maoyan.
The film, released on Feb. 5, earned over 3.7 billion yuan (approx. USD 547 million) as of 4:00 p.m. Saturday, surpassing Operation Red Sea to become the second most successful film at the Chinese box office.
The sci-fi blockbuster also broke the five-year box office record for Chinese films in the North American market, according to Shanghai-based CMC Inc., the firm responsible for the film’s distribution in the region.
Chinese box-office receipts stood at $8.6 billion in 2017, with domestic movies accounting for about 54 percent of the total, according to a 2018 report by the Chinese Film Association and the Film Art Center of China Federation of Literacy and Art Circle.
Revenue from US studio films released in China was down 16.5 percent year-on-year, while sales related to Chinese-made movies climbed 21.6 percent last year. The success of this dark horse, in a sense, should spark some serious reflection in the offices of Hollywood ‘s movie moguls, as they face a challenge from successful domestic filmmakers in a battle to win over the world’s second biggest film market.
Filming of The Wandering Earth took place in Qingdao, China’s movie-making capital and worthy of its moniker “Film City” for the number of films produced there annually. The shooting of film kicked off in Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis in 2017, involving eight of the local movie and TV industry’s studios.
The movie set workshop created over 10,000 props, the area for the movie sets occupied nearly 100,000 square meters, while the spaceship launcher, underground city and space station were all erected on site to actual size.
The Oriental Movie Metropolis in Qingdao Lingshan Bay Film and TV Industrial Area has clearly defined its mission: to build a world-class film production hub with the capability of supporting the end-to-end movie production chain while adhering to the highest standards.
In addition, first-class film and TV production facilities, an integrated film and TV service system coupled with favorable film and TV-related policies embracing international practices are advantages for Lingshan Bay Film and TV Industrial Area when it comes to persuading film directors and producers to choose the area for their next project.
Currently, in Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis, 40 world-class studios have been completed, with the largest occupying an area of 10,000 square meters and where the only combined indoor and outdoor underwater studio in the world can be found.
Moreover, support facilities such as Cang Ma Shan Film and TV Outdoor Scene and Intelligence Creation Industry Park have already given rise do a clustering effect, drawing the city of Qingdao and the film industry even more closely together.
Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis expects to host around 100 film and TV productions each year. Many popular blockbusters were created here, including familiar titles such as The Wandering Earth, Crazy Alien, Rim Pacific 2 and The Island.
In addition, the actual SWAT teams in the film The Swat and the behind-the-scenes work for Assassin in Red was completed in Lingshan Bay Film and TV Industrial Area , as well as the shooting of the Fengshen Trilogy, the film that garnered the largest investment in the history of Chinese film production. In 2019, many films including Space Intellectual, Astrology and Divine Eagle will be shot here.
Qingdao, in its burgeoning role as one of the world’s movie-making capital, looks forward to a promising future.