The Wandering Earth movie

The Wandering Earth movie: Chinese science fiction film with the core of local cultural value | Daxue Consulting

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The Wandering Earth adapted from the novel by Liu Cixin, represented the first Chinese hard-core science fiction masterpiece. The Wandering Earth achieved excellent box office success, reaching 187 million yuan within the first 24 hours of its premiere on February 5th 2019.

The film is based on the unique national feelings of the Chinese people represented by a strong homeland complex in the setting of The Wandering Earth. In Chinese “乡土情结,” refers to Chinese people’s deep emotions for their hometown. The feelings and memories for their hometown deeply attached Chinese people, so they will not easily abandon their birthplace, and the ‘earth’ is the birthplace in The Wandering Earth movie. The earth symbolizes home, which carries all Chinese history, culture, and emotions. Turning the earth into a spaceship profoundly expresses the Chinese people’s attachment to their homeland. When the solar system is destroyed, and human beings are facing the crisis of life and death, everyone becomes a hero to save the earth and humanity together, not a lonely hero like Hollywood movies. In the eyes of many Western media and audiences, The Wandering Earth presents different values and imaginations from those of the West.

Breakthrough in Hollywood science fiction films: Chinese netizens talk about the Wandering Earth

There has been a heated discussion about The Wandering Earth on Chinese social media, as it has risen as a controversial movie. The Wandering Earth fans explain how the film embodies Chinese values, such as collective heroism and homeland complex, which is different from European and American blockbusters. One Weibo user posted:

“The concept of Chinese kinship, heroism, dedication, the homeland complex, and international cooperation are embodied in The Wandering Earth. It is not compatriots individual heroes that save the world, but rather human beings change their destiny together. Such a concept is a breakthrough in Hollywood science fiction film narrative routine. Integrating China’s unique values into the imagination of the future of humanity has broadened the horizon of humanity’s longing for a better future.”

From the first day of the Chinese New Year, on February 5 to the end of May 6, The Wandering Earth had been in theatres for 90 days, with a total box office of 4.654 billion yuan, ranking second in the box office list of Chinese movies, after the war-wolf 2 of 5.683 billion yuan.

The Wandering Earth: Who prefers to watch a Chinese science fiction film?

Wandering earth China
[source: Baidu index ”searches for流浪地球between February 1 and March 1, 2019]

The average daily index of The Wandering Earth of Baidu Search is 530,233, with the search index reaching 471,650 on the day of its release on February 5, and rising to a peak of 1,298,283 on February 9. During the Spring Festival period, the Search Index for the science fiction movie “Crazy Aliens” peaked at only 381720 on February 6. With the word-of-mouth and high-quality production and dissemination of The Wandering Earth, the search heat is rising.

Chinese Science Fiction Movie
[Source: Baidu Index, “流浪地球searches by location.”]

 The Wandering Earth searches in China by location, from highest to lowest:

  1. Guangdong
  2. Jiangsu
  3. Shandong
  4. Zhejiang
  5. Beijing
  6. Henan
  7. Sichuan
  8. Shanghai
  9. Hebei
  10. Hubei
The wandering earth success
The Wandering Earth movie in China
[Source: Baidu Index “流浪地球searches by netizens attributes.”]

According to age and gender distribution data, the highest proportion of users is 56% for 30-39 year-olds, and male audience accounts for 65% of the gender distribution. So the biggest age group watching the Wandering Earth movie in China is 30-39 years old, while the prevailing gender is male.

China’s first big sci-fi movie warmly discussed on Chinese social media

Here are some examples of this film discussions by Chinese Netizens.                  

The Wandering Earth Chinese netizens
[Source: Sina Weibo, The Wandering Earth in China]

#The Wandering Earth hashtag on Weibo got about 1.55 billion reads, and the number of discussions reached 1.274 million.

A Weibo user post says: “Almost all Hollywood sci-fi films have escaped from the Earth when disaster comes, lonely heroes save the world himself, and the Wandering Earth is a collaboration to lead billions of compatriots to save the earth. Western individualism contrasts sharply with Chinese collectivism.”

The wandering earth movie

The Wandering Earth on WeChat: a controversial film

The wandering earth Chinese movie

On Wechat, the corresponding the Wandering Earth movie emoticons arose, and fans began to make a lot of emoticons using the movies character motion pictures.

At the same time, Wechat netizens gave negative comments on the Chinese-style science fiction film, such as the lack of depth of the individual characters, the over-praised movie, and so on.

The Wandering Earth Chinese movie
[Source: The Wandering Earth on Wechat]

Evaluation of the Wandering Earth movie by the Chinese netizens

The Wandering Earth comments
[Source: Zhihu, The Wandering Earth in China]

On the platform of Zhihu, the topic of The Wandering Earth has 45853 followers and 4140 related issues. Zhihu users gave the movie a score o 9.3/10, which led to a more detailed and in-depth analysis of the movie plot.

Wandering Earth opinions China

On Zhihu the question “Why are you all happy to see the box office boom on The wandering Earth”. A Zhihu user says “Every movie ticket is for the future of Chinese movies we want. I don’t want the Chinese movie market to give people the impression that science fiction is hard to make money. Not only do I watch it myself, I also reimburse my friends who go to see it.”

The Wandering Earth branded goods In China: Witnessing a craze for the movie

The popularity and high reputation of The Wandering Earth lead to the production and sales of customized products on Taobao, such as actor dolls, carrier models, athletic shoes, notebooks and so on. As well as shopping activities such as “The Wandering Earth Activity” and “The Flame Activity” have been welcomed by consumers, with nearly 100,000 participants.

Chinese Science Fiction Film
Chinese Science Fiction Movie
[Source: The Wandering Earth on Taobao]

On the afternoon of February 13, a symposium on “Wandering Earth” was held by the Chinese Filmmakers Association and the China Film Archives. The “Wandering Earth” was defined as a phenomenal film.

At the same time, as the first step of the Hollywood-like industrialization of Chinese movies, hard science fiction blockbusters with high special effects have been recommended as “the first year of Chinese science fiction.” At the same time, China has bid farewell to the era without high-quality domestic large-scale IP.

Although some say the Wandering Earth has some shortcomings, the highly-rated Chinese science fiction film with Chinese-style complex and collective heroism plot, it has aroused heated discussion on China’s major social network. People are looking forward to seeing the next Chinese-style science fiction blockbuster.

Author: Zichun LI


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