China turns all its attention to 'Beginning of the Great Revival'

Sunday 18 September 2011 16:36

All eyes in China's cinemas are fixed firmly on Beginning of the Great Revival this week - and there's not much other choice.

The star-studded blockbuster started its roll out across China from Wednesday and cinema operators across the nation are under strict instructions that it play on every available screen.

Filmed to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, the film has even been jointly released in IMAX and is screening on 20 of the 24 IMAX screens in China. The combined effort comes after the state-run film commission announced it would like the film to be seen by at least 30 million people.

Media reports this week say the film is well on its way to meeting those lofty demands, with various state-run enterprises buying out entire days worth of cinema tickets for their employees.

Beginning is one of more than 20 films and television productions being released to mark the 90th anniversary. The final cast list boasts 178 actors - among them the likes of China's Liu Ye, Hong Kong pair Chow Yun-fat and Andy Lau, and the Taiwanese-American singer Wang Lee-hom - but media reports claim more than 400 tried out for roles.

Those who did land a part were certainly put through their paces in the extravaganza, with Liu - who plays China's founding father Mao Zedong in his 30s - revealing he had to gain 10 kilograms for the role by eating 20 eggs a day.

Beginning is certain to end the reign in China of Kung Fu Panda 2, which over the past week added 60.2 million yuan (6.5 million euros) to its takings, meaning the film now has grossed more than 460 million yuan (50 million euros) there.

Meanwhile, Japan added a further US$8.1 million (5.7 million euros) to the coffers of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - meaning that film has now grossed close-on US$77 million (54 million euros) after a month in cinemas.

In Hong Kong it was the J.J. Abrams-directed fantasy Super 8 the people wanted to see, with the film racking in US$575,000 (410,000 euros) to top the charts.

See the trailer:


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