Recently, two of the most popular movies of the Mainland’s 2023 Spring Festival season – Full River Red and The Wandering Earth II were released in Hong Kong cinemas on February 9 and March 2 respectively.

Promotional material for movie Full River Red. Photo credit: Full River Red’s official Weibo account
Promotional material for movie The Wandering Earth II. Photo credit: The Wandering Earth’s official Weibo account

The story of Full River Red revolves around a case during the Shaoxing period of the Southern Song Dynasty. It took place four years after Yue Fei’s death, when Qin Hui (Lei Jiayin) led his troops to meet with the Jin Empire. The night before the meeting, the body of a Jin delegate was found in Qin’s residence, and the secret letter he was carrying also disappeared. Sun Jun (Jackson Yee) and Zhang Da (Shen Teng), assistants for Qin were ordered to solve this case within two hours, but they found that it was not simply a murder case. 

The Wandering Earth II  is a prequel to the 2019 film The Wandering Earth, which tells the story of mankind’s decision and plan to relocate humans on Earth to a new planet Alpha Centauri in response to the rapid ageing problem and the threats imposed by expansion of the sun. 

The Wandering Earth II was widely acclaimed when it was released in Hong Kong. The unique Chinese spirit of unity and struggle embodied in the story made many people who came to watch the film feel excited and proud of it. 

"The movie brings out a concept is that we are a common body of human destiny.It delivers a message that we all make progress together and work together. I think the spirit of sacrifice and dedication in this is important," said Legislator Nixie Lam Lam.

Meanwhile, when 70% of the special effects in the first episode of Wandering Earth were done domestically, there are now 90% of the special effects in The Wandering Earth II domestically produced. Such change has made more people become aware of the rapid development of the Chinese film industry.

When two movies were released in the mainland, Full River Red took the box office champion in January, while The Wandering Earth II claimed it in February was Wandering Earth 2. As of March 1, 2023, according to Maoyan’s real-time box office, Full River Red has reached 4.483 billion, while The Wandering Earth II has reached 3.935 billion. 

However, there were some controversies revolving around these two movies in the mainland. On January 24, 2023, a netizen posted a picture on Sina Weibo, showing that he had purchased online tickets for The Wandering Earth II, but the screening was later canceled due to “equipment malfunction”problem of the theatre. The netizen later found that the canceled screening was not suspended, but it was replaced by the movie Full River Red in the same theatre at the same time

The incident quickly aroused discussions among the netizens, and some of them shared the same experience. Many netizens found that the name “Full River Red” was printed on the movie tickets they bought for Wandering Earth, and some even claimed that the cinema’s move was a “capital manipulation” by the film studio and questioned about the box office falsification.

On January 26, Zhang Yimou, the producer of Full River Red released a statement on his official microblogging site, saying that the accusation of Full River Red for  “having ghost scenes,” “stealing box office,” “capital manipulation,” “box office fraud, and “plagiarism” is nonsense, and he will defend the rights of the film through legal means. 

Featured Image: Zhao Gaofei

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: