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The most profitable movie of all

A little more than a month after its premiere, the Chinese war drama became the world leader in terms of box office grossing.

According to Box Office Mojo, a website that constantly monitors box office receipts from film distribution, there are three Chinese films in the TOP 5 in the world in 2021. In the rating of the largest Russian cinema service, three films from the PRC occupy a "pedestal", and in total in the top ten there are five films from the Celestial Empire.

The most profitable movie of all
Photo: official microblogging of the film "The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir"

The leader of the world film distribution in an unexpectedly short time was the Chinese military drama "The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir", which was released at the end of September this year. To the surprise of many and contrary to all expectations, the picture took the top lines of hit reviews. With a budget of $ 200 million, the military-historical epic earned more than $ 860 million in the world box office and continues to lead in national and foreign film hit lists. Of course, the film has collected the lion's share of this amount in the internal Chinese distribution market, which is the largest in the world with its fifty thousand cinemas and more than a billion cinema viewers. So, by mid-October, the total amount of fees in China exceeded 5,04 billion yuan (about $ 786,65 million). The overwhelming success of the ideologically rich film made foreign distributors pay close attention to contemporary Chinese cinema.


Poster for the film the Battle of the Chongsin Reservoir photo source - the official microblogging of the film

The ingredients for the commercial success of this drama are many and varied. The creators of the picture went in a non-standard way: the film has three directors, and each of them has a worldwide reputation. The first of them is the Chinese film classic Chen Kaige, a master of auteur cinema, director of the famous historical epic costumed films Farewell, My Concubine, The Emperor and the Assassin, the acutely social drama about Chinese peasants, The Yellow Land, the tragic film In the Net of the Web about the growing dependence of people on the Internet and social networks. The second is Dante Lam, the consummate Hong Kong master of numerous crime and police action films, whose plots were often borrowed by Hollywood producers of action films. The third is Cui Hark, another famous filmmaker who has directed both fantasy and Chinese martial arts films.

Another important component of the success of the war film drama mentioned at the beginning was the choice of the topic about the participation of Chinese volunteers in the Korean War. Ironically, the release of the film coincided with an increase in military-political pressure on China from the United States and NATO countries.

Among the characters in this film story, we will see the "Great Helmsman" of the Chinese people - Mao Zedong and his only son Mao Anning, who served in the Soviet army, participated in the Great Patriotic War, finished it in Berlin and received it from I.V. Stalin's premium pistol. Then Mao Zedong's son volunteered to fight the Americans in Korea, where he died. We will also see associates of Mao Zedong, for example, the famous Marshal Peng Dehuai, as well as his opponent, American General Douglas MacArthur.

The film tells about events that the Chinese did not like to remember during the period of rapprochement between China and the United States. It is, as already mentioned, about the participation of Chinese volunteers in the Korean War of 1950-1953. The tape tells about the initial period of the Sino-American battle on the Korean Peninsula. The film contains many symbolic passages and frank allusions connecting the events of 70 years ago with the present. These reminiscences evoke high feelings and pride in Chinese film audiences, and viewership continues to grow.

The fighters of the 9th Volunteer Corps were the first to cross the Sino-Korean border and fight the Americans. As he instructed the poorly dressed soldiers on the eve of the fierce winter of 1950, Marshal Peng Dehuai said, “We have a common enemy — the Americans! They have the best equipment and supplies in the world. But we must show them what a tightly clenched fist of a real Chinese is! "

This "fist" really smashed hundreds of thousands of American noses, and did not let MacArthur's army reach the Chinese border, who promised to end the Korean campaign in a week. Despite the carpet bombing of American aircraft and the poor supply of Chinese soldiers, the Americans were stopped at the Chosin reservoir and did not dare to go further north, where an army of Chinese volunteers was already deploying - the "fist" became very, very weighty.

For two hours, the tape demonstrates an almost continuous battle filled with combat special effects, feats and sacrifice of ordinary Chinese peasants who decided to become volunteer soldiers.

It is significant that the release of the film coincided in time with the deployment in China of a campaign of patriotic education of young people and the fight against hedonism and apolitical attitude among young people. During the campaign, the authorities demanded that the effeminate male TV presenters be removed from the screens. Young Chinese epicureans often argue that "it is better to ride a BMW sadly than, laughing cheerfully, on a bicycle."

Heroic war films are designed to remind young people of patriotism and the great deeds of their grandfathers and great-grandfathers.

Over the past two to three years, Chinese filmmakers have released more than three dozen war films, the production of which has a hand in the most famous Chinese directors. So, in early October 2021, Moscow moviegoers were able to watch the film by the master of Chinese cinema Zhang Yimou "Walking the Edge", which tells the story of a Chinese reconnaissance and sabotage group that was trained in the USSR and was abandoned in the winter of 1945 behind the lines of the Japanese invaders.

Today's Chinese war cinema is distinguished by its genre diversity and original plots. For example, the film "The Founding of the Army" - a historical epic about the creation of the People's Liberation Army of China and "War of the War Wolves" - about the heroic deeds of the Chinese special forces in China and northern Africa. It is worth paying attention to another leader of the box office - the motion picture "Operation in the Red Sea", which earned almost $ 2018 million in 100, and in which the Chinese army is shown capable of conducting high-tech warfare and applying a modern strategy of network-centric warfare.


Image: still from the movie "Operation in the Red Sea"

But back to the movie "The Battle of the Chosin Reservoir". One of the heroes of the picture asks the commander: "Why are we fighting?" The commander replies: "So that our children do not fight." The soldier nodded in satisfaction.

The question arises: is this answer suitable for young Chinese hedonists who are accustomed to drawing knowledge from social networks and receiving material benefits from their parents and from online stores?

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