China’s science-fiction blockbuster The Wandering Earth seeks out new audiences with Netflix deal

23-Feb-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:00 AM Print This Post

China’s second highest-grossing film, The Wandering Earth, will be streaming on Netflix soon, the media company said on Wednesday.

It was not clear when the film will be released, but Netflix said it would be translated into 28 languages.

“Audiences from over 190 countries will soon meet The Wandering Earth on Netflix,” director Frant Gwo, known better as Guo Fan in China, said. “I am glad that our movie can reach to people from different parts of the world. To my surprise, this movie resonated outside mainland China.”

Netflix in 2017 was available in about 190 countries, but China was not one.

Reactions from Chinese film fans on social media were mixed. Some said the Netflix deal was “good news” and voiced satisfaction that a Chinese film was hitting the international stage.

“Finally, it’s foreigners’ turn to watch subtitles,” one said.

Others were not so positive. “Oh, it seems that the people [outside] of the country want to be brainwashed,” one comment read.

China’s first space blockbuster is a huge success, both in takings and ratings. Since its Lunar New Year debut, the film has earned 3.8 billion yuan (US$566 million), according to Bloomberg. On Douban, China’s version of IMDb, the film has a 7.9 rating.

China’s highest-grossing movie is 2017′s Wolf Warrior 2.

Despite its popularity, The Wandering Earth has had a limited release in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, where it was a critical success. On film rating site Rotten Tomatoes, the movie earned a 67 per cent critics rating and 89 per cent audience score.

The movie is based on the novel of the same name by Hugo science fiction and fantasy award winner Liu Cixin, and tells the story of a near future when Earth is at risk of being engulfed by the sun. In a 2,500-year journey, a group of people fight to save humanity.

The Wandering Earth has also been seen as part of a soft power push by the Chinese government.

On Wednesday, China’s film authority praised the film for “not only showing the collectivism, patriotism and family love rooted in traditional Chinese culture”, but also the “Chinese people’s non-utilitarian, cosmopolitan and cooperative spirit”, Xinhua said.

Chinese tabloid Global Times quoted Hu Zhifeng, director of the school of art and communication at Beijing Normal University, as saying the film proposed a Chinese approach to a “United Earth government”.


Category: China

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