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Jia Ling’s “Hi, Mom” Becomes World’s Highest-Grossing Movie by a Female Director

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Chinese film Hi, Mom has just become the top-grossing movie of all time by a female director, surpassing Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman 1984.

Maoyan, a leading Chinese movie ticketing platform and entertainment industry insights provider, announced today on Chinese microblogging site Weibo that the surprise hit had surpassed the box office take of Jenkins’ superhero flick: “At 10 AM on April 6, the box office for Hi, Mom has topped 5.395 billion RMB. Based on the exchange rate (6.5575), its gross box office has surpassed Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman (822 million USD) and made Jia Ling the top-grossing female director.” 

Adapted from a popular TV sketch that Jia herself performed in 2016, Hi, Mom tells the story of an ordinary young Chinese woman who travels back in time to the 1980s and befriends her late mother. Jia co-wrote, directed and starred in the film, which is based on her memories of her own mom.

Jia’s big screen directorial debut, the film was a box office dark horse during February’s Spring Festival, which in recent years has become the biggest time of year for blockbuster releases in China. The movie topped a crowded field in Chinese cinemas during the annual Lunar New Year holiday.

Hi, Mom‘s warm themes struck a chord at a time of year that traditionally sees families come together across China, and also sparked viral discussions around motherhood and what viewers would tell their own moms if they could go back in time.

After seeing its run in domestic theaters extended into mid-April, on March 21 Hi, Mom started screening internationally in 17 countries and regions, including the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Japan, according to ACN Newswire

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Jia has become an established comedy actor in the past decade, regularly appearing on skits as part of the annual Spring Festival Gala, often touted as “the world’s most-watched TV program.” Her sketches are often among the most popular segments on the Chinese New Year staple.

Her popularity, and the historic nature of her achievement, has seen the hashtags #Jia Ling becomes the highest-grossing female director# and #The box office of Hi, Mom surpasses Wonder Woman# attract more than 520 million and 200 million viewers respectively on Weibo in just a few hours. 

The question now is whether it can reel in 2017 action film Wolf Warrior 2 and become the number 1 grossing film in China. Hi, Mom currently sits in second in the all-time China box office charts, needing around another 50 million USD to claim the top spot.

Siyuan Meng
Born and raised in Shaoxing, Siyuan lived in New York and Los Angeles prior to Shanghai. She likes going outdoors.