As of 12 a.m. Sunday, advance box office sales for China's Spring Festival holiday hit 901 million yuan (nearly 133 million U.S. dollars), according to Beacon, the live tracker of film information.
This weeklong holiday, which is usually a lucrative moviegoing period in China, is the first since the country downgraded its COVID-19 management measures. The once sluggish movie market is expected to make a strong recovery, with a cluster of highly anticipated blockbusters on offer.
"The Wandering Earth II" topped the preview and advance sales chart, covering seven domestic titles, released on Jan. 22, 2023. The prequel to China's all-time highest-grossing sci-fi epic "The Wandering Earth" raked in 257 million yuan, accounting for about 28 percent of total bookings.
Iconic director Zhang Yimou's suspense comedy "Full River Red," starring well-known Chinese comedian Shen Teng, was in second place with 244 million yuan.
It was followed by the historical drama "Hidden Blade," which is set in a turbulent Shanghai during the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945). Advance holiday sales of this film, starring Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, exceeded 147 million yuan.
The other films on the list are "Boonie Bears: Guardian Code," the newest installment of this domestic animated comedy franchise; "Five Hundred Miles," a comedy starring Zhang Xiaofei; "Deep Sea," an animated fantasy by Tian Xiaopeng, the helmsman of the critically acclaimed "Monkey King: Hero is Back," and "Ping-pong of China," a sports drama directed by Deng Chao. ■