The latest James Bond movie “No Time to Die” or even “Shang-Shi…The Legend of the Ten Rings” is not currently the most successful in the world.
The Chinese propaganda film, “Battle of Changjin Lake”, which is about the Korean War in the 1950s, is at the fore.
The film, whose story centers on the victory of Chinese soldiers over American forces, made in the first two weeks of its release only $ 633 million at the box office, which puts it far ahead of the movie “Chang-Chi: The Legend of the Ten Rings”, whose worldwide revenues reached $402 million, and is expected to become the highest-grossing Chinese film of all time.
The film’s success is good news for the Chinese film industry affected by the pandemic, as the COVID-19 outbreak has forced theaters to close and reopen several times.
This is good news for the country, which experts say has mastered making propaganda that is popular with the masses.
But for Hollywood as it monitors this development, the huge popularity of a local film, in this way, means greater challenges in the future, especially as it struggles to find a foothold in China, which represents the largest market for the film in the world.
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The film “Battle of Changjin Lake,” commissioned by the Chinese government, is one of several national films that have achieved major commercial successes in recent years.
In 2017, the second part of the movie “Wolf Warrior” made $238 million in just one week, and the story of the film revolved around a Chinese soldier who rescues hundreds of people from the bad guys in a war zone in Africa.
The movie “Battle of Changjin Lake” revolves around a brutal battle in an icy atmosphere, and the Chinese claim that this battle was a watershed in the Korean War, a war that is officially known in China as the “War to Stop American Aggression and Aid Korea.” Thousands of Chinese soldiers died at the lake to secure a decisive victory against the American forces.
A viewer of the film wrote on the Chinese social networking site Douban: “I was very moved by the sacrifices of the soldiers, the weather was very harsh, but they managed to win. I feel very proud.”
It is no coincidence that the film’s popularity comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing.
“Without a doubt, this popularity is due to the ongoing tension with the United States, and the film was promoted in this way, sometimes in an indirect fashion, but also very clearly,” says Stanley Rossen, a professor of political science at the University of Southern California.
Coordination between film studios and the authorities is another reason for the success of the film, and the authorities tightly control the volume and type of films distributed at any given time.
Currently, there is little competition for “Battle of Changjin Lake” in Chinese theaters, as major Hollywood films, such as “No Time to Die”, will not be shown in China before the end of this month, although they are shown elsewhere.
And the film was shown in perfect timing, not only did its release coincide with the National Day holiday of China, which falls on October 1, but also coincided with the celebration of the ruling Communist Party of China’s centenary of its founding.