The Battle At Lake Changjin has become China's highest-grossing film

The Battle At Lake Changjin has become China's biggest film ever.
The Battle At Lake Changjin has become China's biggest film ever.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

BEIJING (REUTERS, BLOOMBERG) - Forget James Bond's gadgets, the super cars of Fast And Furious or Dune's stunning landscapes - when it comes to box office smash hits, China has nailed it this year.

Chinese patriotic film The Battle At Lake Changjin is not only the highest grossing film worldwide so far in 2021, but has become China's biggest film ever.

The 176-minute epic starring Chinese actor Wu Jing and singer Jackson Yee has toppled action film Wolf Warrior 2 (2017), which also stars Wu, according to ticketing platform Maoyan Entertainment.

The Battle At Lake Changjin's box office takings hit 5.695 billion yuan (S$1.22 billion) on Thursday morning (Nov 25), surging past 5.694 billion yuan, the amount earned by Wolf Warrior 2.

The war epic depicts Chinese soldiers battling American troops during the bitter cold of the Korean War (1950 to 1953), which ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

The film led China's box office for days after premiering on Sept 30 to mark the country's National Day on Oct 1. It is still showing in Chinese cinemas, with its run extended twice to Dec 30.

The movie was helmed by Chinese director Chen Kaige, as well as Hong Kong directors Tsui Hark and Dante Lam. A sequel, Water Gate Bridge, is in the works, according to local media reports.

China is now the world's second largest film market after the United States, underscoring its importance as a key market for Hollywood's moviemakers.

However, Chinese movie-goers have been shifting to local content in recent years amid rising patriotic sentiment.

The Chinese government has imposed a quota of 34 imported films each year, many of which are produced by major Hollywood studios.