Beijing - A variety of new domestic movies are set to join an exciting competition at the box office during the upcoming Spring Festival holiday in China, offering movie-goers a cinematic feast with diverse choices.
As of Monday, a star-studded lineup of nine homegrown movies has been confirmed for release nationwide during the holiday which runs from Feb. 10 to 17 this year. Eight of them will hit the big screen on the first day of the holiday.
As this year's holiday is one day longer than in previous years, industry insiders believe that this extended holiday period will create greater opportunities for box office success.
Of the nine productions, comedy film "Pegasus 2" has received the highest number of "want to watch" votes on the film data platform Maoyan, surpassing 664,400 as of Monday evening.
Written and directed by writer-turned director and racing driver Han Han, and a sequel to his 2019 Spring Festival holiday hit "Pegasus," "Pegasus 2" continues the story of Zhang Chi, a racing driver who has defied all odds in pursuing his dream.
Animation "Boonie Bears: Time Twist" and comedy drama "YOLO" ranked second and third in terms of "want to watch" popularity on Maoyan, gaining over 607,000 and 488,800 votes respectively.
"This year's Spring Festival holiday lineup features diverse genres," said playwright and director Xiang Kai.
The films encompass comedy, romance, action, and suspense, among others, and can meet the demands of different audience groups in terms of age, gender and social sector, said Xiang.
For example, "Boonie Bears: Time Twist," the 10th installment in the "Boonie Bears" franchise, incorporates the elements of comedy, animation and science fiction, according to Maoyan.
"Article 20," a highly anticipated work by renowned Chinese director Zhang Yimou, brings the 20th article about justifiable defense in the Criminal Law into the spotlight. The movie features an all-star cast, including the most popular actors in recent years.
As the only film of the nine to be screened on Feb. 16, action and suspense film "Break War" is the work of Hong Kong director Danny Pang and presents a fight between a criminal under the guise of a "savior" and the Hong Kong police.
The Spring Festival holiday is usually a lucrative period for the film industry, making up a sizable portion of the total box office throughout the year.
Data released by the China Film Administration early this month showed that the total box office earnings across China exceeded 54.91 billion yuan (7.73 billion U.S. dollars) in 2023. Nearly 1.3 billion tickets were sold nationwide. The figures have pointed to a robust recovery of the country's film market.
Box office revenues during the 2023 Spring Festival holiday accounted for about 12.3 percent of the yearly total, according to a report by Maoyan.
"The box office performance during this Spring Festival holiday season will be crucial for the sustained and healthy growth momentum of the film market in 2024," said industry analyst Chen Jin.
"As China's domestic films have more diverse subjects and more distinct genres, with the overall development of film industrialization, they are obviously becoming more attractive to the Chinese audience," said Yang Xindi, a researcher from the Beijing Film Academy.
Given the rich assortment of film offerings and the extended eight-day holiday period, experts are upbeat about a promising Spring Festival performance and even bigger box office success for the whole year.
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