Welcome to China Film File, a weekly brief on the business of movies in China. In today’s news: 2013’s box office totals, director Feng Xiaogang’s public brawl with critics, and Seattle’s continued Finding Mr. Right-driven Chinese tourist influx.
China’s 2013 box office results totaled more than $3.6 billion this year, representing a 27 percent increase in profits since 2012. While 2013 saw many landmark international co-production deals, it was also characterized by a major surge in popularity for China’s homegrown films, which have pulled six slots of the annual top 10 highest-grossing films.
2013’s top 10 films, courtesy of Box Office Mojo:
Grossing over $196 million, director Stephen Chow’s action-adventure comedy Journey to the West earned 2013’s highest box office turnout on the mainland, with other home-grown films making tremendous gains on Hollywood’s profits this year. The other Chinese films on this year’s top 10 are representative of the shift into high performance for local contemporary-themed films like the Sleepless in Seattle-inspired Finding Mr. Right and nostalgic college romance So Young.
This week’s box office results show Jackie Chan actioner Police Story 2013 and Feng Xiaogang’s provocative Personal Tailor bringing high traffic to mainland theaters.
Box office results courtesy of Entgroup:
Despite box office success, Feng Xiaogang’s Personal Tailor has drawn a lot of online contention from China’s local critics, and the director has decided to swing back. Castigating his critics, Feng has posted a strong response to China’s cultural establishment on his Weibo account (China’s Twitter):
“You don’t even understand the script and you will get lost after two turns. Do I have to translate into pure simple words for you to understand it? How can you still say you are film critics? Don’t make fools of yourselves.”
“Are you the only ones who represent right? Have you a clear understanding of your own nature? Every day you pretend that you have democratic thinking and protect free speech. Please take the cultural Nazi masks off your faces.”
China news podcast Sinica has dedicated an episode to the current affairs of the Chinese film industry. Featuring an illuminating talk with China Daily‘s film critic Raymond Zhou, the chat covers why co-productions make for boring films, Feng Xiaogang’s recent critical combat, Chinese films in Europe, and more.
Chinese tourists are rushing to Seattle after seeing Finding Mr. Right. Inspired by Sleepless In Seattle, the rom-com has apparently brought a major uptick in Chinese tourists to the city, which claims a 90 percent increase in visitors from the mainland over the last two years.