According to Forbes, Wu Jing’s Wolf Warrior 2 is now bigger at the Chinese box office than the domestic total for Avatar.
Basically, you know how our biggest movie of all time is Avatar, James Cameron’s Dances with 3D Aliens that grossed $760 million domestic and was then promptly forgotten by popular culture within 2 years? Yeah, China’s new biggest movie of all time just passed it, ending its most recent weekend with $768.5m. Their domestic leader is now bigger than our domestic leader. But, ya know, it’s not the size that counts.
Seriously? Dick jokes. Come on. I should be better than that.
Sadly, it’s even more complicated than all that because at the start of the year China started folding online ticketing fees into its box office totals, thus adding, on average, 8% to a film’s overall gross. It’s totally misleading, but it’s the system they’re using and everyone’s just going with it. However, now it means Wolf Warrior 2‘s “record” needs an asterisk because if you take away the online ticketing fees from its total it hasn’t actually made more than Avatar.
OMG, who cares? The larger point here is that China keeps churning out its own local hits that rival our own, and now they have one that’s going toe-to-toe with the highest-grossing movie we’ve ever seen. Eventually, they might not need or want so many of our movies, or Hollywood studios will jump ship and start making more movies specifically for China. For example, you want to keep on craking out those Transformers movies? Fine. Just cut out the middle man already, and go over to China to make one with a Chinese cast and crew. At this point, that’s who you are really making those movie for anyway.
But I digress.
If Wolf Warrior 2 is such a big movie why haven’t we seen it yet? Because Chinese movies rarely make any money over here, or, really, anywhere outside of China. For example, Warrior 2 only has a US/Canada gross of $2m right now. Prior Chinese record holder The Mermaid only pulled down $3m from the US/Canada to go along with its $553 back home. So, if you’re really curious to see Warrior 2 your best bet is probably to just watch the trailer, embedded below:
Wow. That looks…terrible. Terrible in a good way, perhaps, as a delightfully bonkers, over-the-top action movie, but also terrible in that “Oh, Michael Bay, what hath thou wrought?” kind of way. That trailer looks like a parody of the biggest and dumbest parts of a Hollywood action movie except it doesn’t know it’s a parody. That trailer looks like your run of the mill Jason Statham movie. But, hey, it’s nice to see Arrow‘s Celina Jade again. Still, who am I to crap all over China’s new favorite movie? Cultural and language differences and all that. To be fair, 67% of RottenTomatoes critics liked it, but that’s only out of 9 reviews.
What about you? Did that trailer leave you revved up for action? Or just despairing for the state of cinema in general?