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Chinese language cinema

Chinese blockbuster Wolf Warriors 2 kicks Forrest Gump off list of top 100 grossing films

The film is riding the wave of China’s new-found patriotic fervour at the movies, whipped up by the ruling Communist Party

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 5:49pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 August, 2017, 5:49pm

Fresh from shattering China’s box office record, patriotic blockbuster Wolf Warriors 2 has claimed another slice of history by becoming the first non-Hollywood film to break into the top 100 all-time grossing movies worldwide.

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The flag-waving action movie’s plot line of Chinese soldiers saving war-ravaged Africans from Western baddies has resonated in an increasingly self-assured China. The film last week became the country’s all-time top earner less than two weeks after its release.

The strength of those domestic receipts has now propelled the film on to industry monitor Box Office Mojo’s all-time 100 list, where on Wednesday it knocked 1994’s Forrest Gump from the No. 100 spot.

Box Office Mojo says Wolf Warriors 2 has grossed US$682 million worldwide, nearly all of it in Chinese cinemas.

But it looked likely to climb further up the list – latest figures from the official China Movie Data Information Network says Wolf has already raked in 4.75 billion yuan (HK$5.5 billion) in domestic sales as of Wednesday.

That would put it nearly another 10 places higher on Box Office Mojo’s list, in the company of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

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The film is filled with special effects, stunts and explosions worthy of Hollywood, and boasts a rather ominous tagline: “whoever offends China will be hunted down no matter how far away they are”.

It depicts a Chinese former special forces operative’s fictional foray into an unnamed African war zone to rescue compatriots and downtrodden locals from rebels and bloodthirsty Western mercenaries.

The movie is directed by martial arts expert Wu Jing, who also plays the lead role of Leng Feng, and a cliffhanger ending sets the stage for a third instalment and another likely windfall.

Wolf is riding a wave of patriotic fervour whipped up by the ruling Communist Party. This summer has also seen the release of the film The Founding of an Army, which chronicles the origins of the People’s Liberation Army.

Cinemas across China have been ordered since July 1 to show short clips promoting “core socialist values” and President Xi Jinping’s “Chinese dream” political credo before each film.

In an interview published Tuesday, Wu said: “I’ve only taken a match and lit up people’s patriotism with a spark.”

Wolf Warriors 2 will have work to do to climb up to the top ranks of the list, which is headed by Avatar (2009) at US$2.7 billion, followed by Titanic (1997) and Star Wars: the Force Awakens (2015).