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Chinese film industry seeks success through branded movie franchises

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-24 14:53
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China's film industry is experiencing a surge in sequels to hit movies, with several highly anticipated follow-ups registering with the China Film Administration in the first quarter of 2023.

Among the big names are Pegasus 2, A Cool Fish 2, If You Are the One 3, I Am What I Am 2, and B for Busy 2. Additionally, fans eagerly await new installments of the The Wandering Earth and Detective Chinatown franchises.

Industry experts say that for China's movie series to succeed, they must establish a distinctive brand and achieve sustainable development. With more sequels in production, only time will tell which titles continue to attract audiences and remain relevant amid an ever-evolving market.


Multiple movie series have proven to be box office blockbusters in China in recent years. Guo Fan's The Wandering Earth II, a prequel to the popular 2019 sci-fi movie, made over 4 billion yuan (around $567 million) and secured the 10th spot on China's all-time box office chart when it finished its theatrical run on May 15. The Wandering Earth is China's highest-grossing science fiction film to date, earning nearly 4.7 billion yuan in revenue.

The Detective Chinatown series is another box office success, with total earnings comparable to those of The Wandering Earth movies. Since debuting in 2015, the Detective Chinatown movie series has released a new film every three years, with Detective Chinatown 3 raking in 4.5 billion yuan in 2021.

Boonie Bears is another flourishing series, with Boonie Bears: Guardian Code grossing nearly 1.5 billion yuan this year. Since the first film's release in 2014, a new Boonie Bears movie has hit theaters almost annually. The series boasts a stable audience base and strong box office appeal, making it a firm favorite with cinema chain managers.

The Battle at Lake Changjin claimed the top spot on China's all-time box office chart in 2021, grossing a record-breaking 5.775 billion yuan. Its sequel, The Battle at Lake Changjin II, topped the annual chart the following year. Generating a total revenue of 9.8 billion yuan, the two films earned the title of China's highest-grossing film series of all time.

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