New blockbuster expected to continue China’s sci-fi fever

New sci-fi blockbuster Shanghai Fortress is expected to refuel the passion for China’s domestic sci-fi movies kindled by the resounding success of The Wandering Earth.

The film, directed by Teng Huatao and starring famed actress Shu Qi and singer-turned-actor Lu Han, is scheduled to hit the screens on August 9, it was announced at the ongoing 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival.

The movie adaptation of a same-name novel by Jiangnan depicts a battle between humanity and aliens in the city of Shanghai. It is bid as the first China-made blockbuster about a human-alien war in recent decades.

It is another high-profile movie to join the new club of China’s domestic sci-fi movies, whose combined box offices are predicted to surpass those of foreign imports this year in an “unprecedented” development in China’s movie history, said an industry report issued at the film festival.

Earlier this year, The Wandering Earth, with a box office of 4.6 billion yuan (about $670 million), became China’s second highest-grossing movie of all time, spurring heated discussions about the advent of a new era of China’s sci-fi blockbusters.

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“Chinese movie-goers are increasingly yearning for more than low-budget comedies and romance films. They have started to look for better-quality and bigger-budget films, such as sci-fi,” said Teng, whose previous works include high-grossing 2011 romcom Love Is Not Blind.

The latest report by the Maoyan Research Institute, powered by film database and ticketing platform Maoyan, highlighted the huge market potentials of the sci-fi movie genre, pointing to its increasing popularity among the young, the female and viewers in smaller cities.

Compared with Hollywood counterparts, Chinese sci-fi films’ main appeals to the domestic audience include their casts, themes and emotional links, it said.

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