The unexpected box office success of China’s first science fiction blockbuster, The Wandering Earth, sent shares of its two major producers skyrocketing on the first trading day of the Lunar New Year. Beijing Jingxi Culture and Tourism Co, which also co-produced China’s highest-grossing film, Wolf Warrior 2 , surged by the 10 per cent daily limit in Shenzhen to 14.51 yuan on Monday. State-owned China Film Group jumped by as much as 7.8 per cent before paring the gains to close 2.7 per cent higher. This sci-fi film is China’s answer to Interstellar and Gravity The Wandering Earth , with a scale rivalling Hollywood space epics like Interstellar , has raked in over 2 billion yuan (US$296 million) in box office revenue since its release on February 5, the first day of the Lunar New Year. The film was the highest-grossing film during the Lunar New Year holiday, a traditional peak box office period. “The market did not expect its box office performance to be so spectacular, because domestic sci-fi films were not very popular in the past,” said Zhang Heng, an equity analyst specialising in media and entertainment at Guosen Securities. Chinese blockbuster Wolf Warrior 2 set for re-release A gauge tracking 66 film-related stocks listed in mainland China rose 2 per cent on Monday, against a 1.4 per cent increase in the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index. The movie, based on Chinese sci-fi author Liu Cixin’s novel, tells the story of humans’ effort to propel the Earth out of the solar system using giant engines in order to escape the looming destruction of the sun. The film’s total box office income is projected by movie-ticketing company Maoyan to reach 5.1 billion yuan, which would make it China’s second highest-grossing film in history. Eight Chinese films vying for Lunar New Year supremacy While the producers have not released an official figure for the film’s budget, some Chinese media suggested it could be over 500 million yuan. Apart from the two listed producers, action star Wu Jing – who played a Chinese astronaut in the film – and director Frant Gwo were also major investors in the movie. Wu directed and starred in Wolf Warrior 2 . The movie has more than 20 co-producers, including Alibaba Pictures and Tencent Pictures, which have investments in it. In a statement in 2017, Beijing Jingxi Culture and Tourism said its investment in the film would not exceed 108 million yuan, including production and marketing costs. Curiously, Wanda Film Holding, a subsidiary of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, was initially one of the producers, according to a press release in 2017.But its name did not appear in the list of producers in the end. China’s overall box office revenue during the Lunar New Year holiday expanded by 1.4 per cent to 5.8 billion yuan this year, the slowest growth in five years as cinemas raised ticket prices. Investors in other holiday movies suffered from lacklustre box office takings. Shanghai New Culture Media Group, producer of The New King of Comedy , which was directed by Hong Kong comedian Stephen Chow Sing-chi, plunged by 7.4 per cent on Monday. Beijing Enlight Media Co, which produced Crazy Alien, shed 4.5 per cent. Chinese films among strong field vying for Berlinale’s Golden Bear Beijing Jingxi Culture and Tourism’s stock price plunged by a quarter in 2018 as the film sector took a beating from China’s crackdown on tax evasion in the entertainment industry. But investors are now looking forward to more films like The Wandering Earth from the company, Zhang said. “The company has plenty of sci-fi and fantasy films in the pipeline, and it’s likely to harvest good results from those investments,” he said.