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Daily Drip

“Nezha,” China’s Biggest-Ever Animated Movie, is Coming to North America, Australia, and New Zealand

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Updated: August 22, 2019, 5:09 PM Beijing time

Nezha, the animated movie that has dominated China’s summer box office, is set for a series of international releases after breaking records at home. The film, a reworking of an old mythological tale, has raked in more than 4.26 billion RMB (601 million USD) in theaters at this writing, making it one of China’s biggest-ever movies of all time in terms of revenue. On August 21, its eleventh day in theaters, Nezha surpassed Avengers: Endgame, which did 4.238 billion RMB in China, to become the #3 all-time highest-grossing film at the Chinese box office. This feat earned the praise of Endgame directors Anthony and Joe Russo, who took to Weibo to congratulate Nezha director Yu Yang, aka Jiaozi:The Enlight Pictures production, which recently had its China cinema run extended into September, has been picked up by distributor WellGo for a north America release it was confirmed this week (on selected screens from August 29; nationwide from September 6). Nezha will also be showing on screens in Australia and New Zealand from August 23 and 29 respectively.

Records continue to fall for the film, which is now the fourth-highest China box office earner of all time; some are predicting it may break into the top 3 before the end of its run. The updated spin on a tale many Chinese are familiar with has struck a chord with audiences while also benefitting from a pretty clear field in terms of competition for the “blockbuster of the summer” crown. War drama The Eight Hundred, which was expected to challenge for that title, was abruptly shunted into censor-battling limbo, while big budget sci-fi flick Fortress Shanghai has been such a disastrous flop that its director felt compelled to publicly apologize.

Related:

How “Nezha”, a Revamped Tale from Chinese Mythology, Became the Country’s Biggest-Ever Animated Movie

Read more about Nezha, the “punk” 1979 version, and what young animators make of the summer smash hit here.

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.