A lot of us are led to believe that when it comes to choosing which movies to watch, the Chinese are fond of copying their American counterparts. However, after looking at the current top five movies at the Chinese box office, we think maybe the Chinese aren’t getting the best of the West (or East):
5. The Magic Aster
An animated feature released last month, the movie raked in two million RMB on opening day alone. We assume a great deal of interest in the movie is due to the all-star voice cast of Yao Ming, pop-king Leon Lai, and supermodel-actress Lin Chi-ling. Based on Chinese folklore and turned into a children’s show in the 1950s, it received a review from Hollywood Reporter that rags on it much better than we could:
The original’s Socialist doctrinal indictment of materialistic greed is downplayed, and overshadowed by an environmentalist stance. However, since the villainess is not invested with any allegorical attributes that represents concrete endangerment to the ecosystem, be it industrialization or deforestation, the message is ill-defined.
4. Iron Man
No, not that one. This iron man is Wang Jinxi, Communist Party poster boy (literally) famous in China for discovering oil in Daqing and seen as an icon of socialist reconstruction (thank you, Google Scholar).
We’re not sure how discovering oil makes you an iron man, but the Chinese obviously love yet another movie about model workers fighting ‘class enemies’ and ‘old society’ and ‘bourgeois thought’ and yawwwwn. Only a matter of time before another one comes out. Next!
3. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
We have to give some credit here, the first Night at the Museum wasn’t that bad, and some of us here at Shanghaiist much prefer Ben Stiller over his other Frat Packers (yeah, we’re lookin’ at you, Will Ferrell.) So of course the big Hollywood machine churned out a sequel, and so far it has grossed over 12 million yuan at Chinese box offices. And sometimes you just need a dumb comedy to keep those bad China days at bay.
2. Terminator Salvation
Hey, remember that time Christian Bale threw a four minute f-bomb laden hissy fit? That was while filming this movie…and that’s what we find most memorable about Terminator Salvation. But hey, there’s a decentish cast (we’re suckers for Helena Bonham Carter), and it so far has taken in 38 million yuan in China, so good for you, Terminator 4. Your Chinese fans still love you, or at least your CGI effects.
1. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
So what if some netizens were insulted over Transformers bombing Shanghai? In its first five days, Revenge of the Fallen generated over 100 million yuan in box office receipts. Proving once again that the Chinese love their robots in disguise. Megan Fox who?