This undated photo shows a poster for The Wandering Earth II at a cinema in Haidian district, Beijing. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
BEIJING - With a total box office revenue of over 4 billion yuan (about $579.27 million) as of Thursday, the sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth II has emerged as one of the highest-grossing films in China's history, and the enormous popularity of the movie has created an extraordinary buzz in the country's film merchandising market.
After watching The Wandering Earth II, 30-year-old film enthusiast Luo Yuxing purchased a presold USB flash drive that replicates the digital life memorizer from the movie through an online crowdfunding campaign on the same day.
"I purchased it out of my passion for the film and to support domestic sci-fi movies," said Luo, who was among the first supporters of The Wandering Earth II merchandise crowdfunding.
Within just a few days of crowdfunding, manufacturers of merchandise for the film have earned over 100 million yuan, setting a record in China's film and television industry.
52TOYS, one of the authorized merchandise manufacturers, released a toy that is designed based on a robot dog featured in the movie. According to Huang Jin, co-founder and president of the company, they raised far more money than he had anticipated.
Industry insiders believe there is enormous potential in China's film merchandise market as most of the domestic film revenues currently are still from the box office and product placement within films, while revenues from film merchandise are rather limited
"Our initial target was to raise 100,000 yuan. However, the funding rapidly exceeded 1 million yuan and eventually reached more than 12 million yuan," he said.
Huang believes that the popularity of the merchandise lies in the charm of the film. "The film's intellectual property has resonated with the audience," he said.
Recent years have witnessed the rapid development of Chinese film production, with a series of blockbusters like Monkey King: Hero is Back in 2015 and Ne Zha in 2019 boosting the country's film merchandise market. A wide range of products such as mugs, phone cases, T-shirts, and mecha toys are available in the market.
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The photo released by box office tracker Maoyan shows a scene featuring Andy Lau in The Wandering Earth II, a prequel to the 2019 sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth.
The growing popularity of film merchandise is indicative of the increasing demand among movie-goers, noted Ji Shaoting, head of the Future Affairs Administration, a sci-fi cultural company. "Consumers are willing to pay not only for the basic functions of cultural products but also for their added value," Ji added.
Industry insiders believe there is enormous potential in China's film merchandise market as most of the domestic film revenues currently are still from the box office and product placement within films, while revenues from film merchandise are rather limited.
Rao Shuguang, president of the China Film Critics Association, said that the development of the domestic film merchandise market is closely linked with the progress of film industrialization in China.
The production of film merchandise will help promote the healthy and sustainable development of the Chinese film industry, Rao added.
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