China's record National Day holiday box office reflects patriotic passion
Patriotic films dominated Chinese theaters during the National Day holiday and generated a record 5 billion yuan (US$708 million) of box office revenue.
China saw a total of 135 million moviegoers from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7, with three key movies, namely "My People, My Country," "The Captain" and "The Climbers," raking in 2.22 billion yuan, 1.98 billion yuan and 823 million yuan, respectively, figures from the China Movie Data Information Network showed Tuesday.
The trio of patriotic films' box office success indicates audiences' recognition of the filmmakers' innovative and enterprising spirit in artistic creation. Also, the national feeling displayed in the movies echoes the rising patriotic passion among the Chinese people, said Sun Xianghui, director of the China Film Art Research Center.
A seven-part epic anthology by seven directors led by Chen Kaige, "My People, My Country," has become the top-grossing film in terms of audience satisfaction among all the domestic films ever surveyed, according to the China Film Archive.
The film recalls seven important historical moments in China over the past seven decades, ranging from the founding of the PRC in 1949, China's successful test of its first atomic bomb, the return of Hong Kong to the motherland in 1997, the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to the Shenzhou 11 manned mission crew members' safe returning to Earth in 2016.
"My People, My Country" earned a record 91 points out of a total of 100 in the latest China film audience satisfaction survey covering the three Chinese films that premiered around Oct. 1, the National Day.
It ranked the first in terms of audience satisfaction among all the 267 domestic films covered since the survey was launched in early 2015, according to the archive.
Co-conducted by the China Film Art Research Center, the China film audience satisfaction survey is a film evaluation system independent of the China film box office.
The survey adopts methods of on-site sampling surveys at theaters, online surveys of film industry workers and experts and big data analysis to comprehensively evaluate domestic films from the perspectives of screen depiction, ideological content and film popularity.
"The Captain," a cinematic portrayal of a miraculous emergency landing of the Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8633 in May 2018, took the sixth place on the audience satisfaction chart covering all the domestic films ever surveyed by scoring 87.1 points, according to the archive.
"The Climbers," which dramatizes the real-life expedition of Chinese mountaineers ascending Mount Qomolangma in 1960 and 1975, came the 12th with 85.4 points.
The overall audience satisfaction with Chinese films screened during the just-concluded National Day holiday reached 88.6 points, the highest ever recorded by the survey, which has so far covered 31 seasonal and holiday screening periods, the archive said.
By putting the spotlight on ordinary people, "My People, My Country" adopts a much different approach for history telling from previous films of the same genre.
It stars Huang Bo as an engineer who manages to make an electric flagpole for the PRC's founding ceremony on Oct. 1, 1949, Ge You as a Beijing taxi driver who gets a ticket to the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games but offers it to a boy who lost his father in a deadly earthquake that year and Zhang Yi as an unnamed researcher who contributes to China's nuclear science research.
Through examining the seemingly distant yet close ties between individuals and the country featuring the historical, classic moments over the past 70 years, the film aims to awaken the "common memories" of Chinese people around the world.
"Either based on real-life events or inspired by historical moments, the three films are works that come in step with the pulse of the times with warm feelings," said Li Qian, a Beijing-based screenwriter.
Depicting legendary moments from the angles of the ordinary makes "My People, My Country" a patriotic film that is easy for viewers to resonate with, she added.
Foreseeing further potential for the patriotic film trio to continue their market success in the days to come, the China Film Archive commended in a statement their achievements in broadening the genre of and lifting the popularity of patriotic films.