Chinese science fiction film, The Wandering Earth has managed to break all previous Chinese sci-fi records in the country and is now on the fast track to become the highest grossing film in the country’s history
The Wandering Earth is China’s first-ever sci-fi blockbuster, which is currently on the fast track to becoming the highest-grossing film in the country’s history with its first-week budget recorded at 2 billion Yuan. The film was released on the lunar New Year, on February 5, 2019, and has since managed to become the highest-grossing film released in the country during the holiday season.
Audiences and critics are seeing the success of the film as a new beginning for Chinese sci-fi. The genre is known to be dominated by Hollywood films in the country. Director of the blockbuster, Frant Gwo asserted that “2019 could be remembered as year zero of Chinese science-fiction blockbusters. It is not just about one successful movie but about the emergence of multiple films.”
Set in the distant future, the plot of the film is based on the classic science fiction works of China’s only Hugo award-winning author Liu Cixin. The narrative follows the Earth’s governments that are dealing with an unstable sun and are searching for a new home in the universe. A rather interesting plot point in the film is driven by the idea of ejecting the Earth from its solar system. Responding to criticism, author Liu Cixin said, “Of course we don’t need to escape soon” he added, “That’s why it’s a movie instead of a (real) crisis.”
Today, the Chinese film industry is expected to top the charts in the near future, overtaking Hollywood by 2022. Given The Wandering Earth’s success, the sci-fi genre is now likely to contribute a great deal to the rise of the Chinese film market. However, as explained by author Liu Cixin, “Building trust between producers, investors and the audience is the biggest challenge here… Not so many people have faith in a Chinese sci-fi movie”.
Nevertheless, it would be unfair to say that perceptions about Chinese sci-fi films aren’t changing.