The Chinese war epic The Battle At Lake Changjin has made headlines again: As of November 25, it has brought in a total of 5.96 billion RMB (933.7 million USD), surpassing the action film Wolf Warrior 2 to become the highest-grossing film in Chinese history.
In fact, it is currently the top-grossing film in the world for 2021, followed by another Chinese film, Hi, Mom, directed by Jia Ling. (However, it is important to note that Chinese theaters have been open since July 2020, while theaters in many Western countries are still experiencing waves of Covid-19-related closures.)
The film is co-directed by top filmmakers Chen Kaige, Tsui Hark, and Dante Lam and stars famous actors Wu Jing from Wolf Warrior and Jackson Yee from Chinese pop group TFboys. It debuted a day before the week-long Chinese National Day holiday, which celebrates the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and tells the story of Chinese troops in a significant battle during the Korean War: the Battle of Chosin Reservoir.
Chinese netizens celebrated the success of the film on Weibo, China’s answer to Twitter. The related hashtag ‘What it means for The Battle At Lake Changjin to be the top-grossing film’ (#长津湖登顶票房第一有哪些意义#) is trending on Weibo and had gained more than 33.8 million views at the time of writing.
“The success of this film showed that our domestic film industry could be successful,” posted one netizen under the hashtag.
The film could be perceived as a propaganda push, given that China’s propaganda department commissioned it. Regardless, the massive success of The Battle At Lake Changjin demonstrates that China’s theaters no longer depend on Hollywood to attract crowds.
Cover image via IMDb
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