Box office success may inspire production of more patriotic blockbusters
○ Blockbuster Wolf Warriors 2 has been a huge smash hit, arousing nationalistic sentiments on the Internet
○ The overwhelming online praise has also drawn some criticism, with some saying the fever aroused by the film is abnormal
○ More and more films and novels are using nationalism to attract audiences
It has been two weeks since the release of patriotic movie Wolf Warriors 2 and the screenings are still packed and the online praise for the movie is deafening.
The story of a Chinese ex-commando saving his compatriots overseas has been the number one film in the country since it was released on July 27.
The film was shown 120,000 times on August 4 and earned .7 million at the box office that day alone. Over the weekend it expanded to 140,000 screenings per day and increased its earnings to .7 million and .7 million respectively, according to the Ent Group, a big data firm that offers consultation on China's entertainment industry.
With a total box office take of 3.5 billion yuan (2 million) as of August 8, it became the top earning film ever aired in China, overtaking Monster Hunt and Fast and Furious 7.
The success of the film reflects the eager audience for patriotic movies in China, but some have said people are taking their enthusiasm for the film too far.
The protagonist is Leng Feng, a former soldier with special military unit "Wolf Warrior," who gets caught up in a conflict in Africa and single-handedly protects local and Chinese civilians from rebels and American mercenaries.
There are several scenes in the movie that are clearly designed to arouse patriotic sentiments among Chinese moviegoers. After a bombing, Leng and others run to the nearest Chinese embassy for help. The ambassador stands up to the insurgents and says "We are Chinese; we have always been brothers with African countries."
During the evacuation in the film it is also stressed that ships from other countries are sailing away from the conflict and that a Chinese aircraft carrier is the only vessel sailing towards the unnamed African country to pick up its citizens. When Leng leads people through a battlefield to reach the ship, he ties a Chinese flag to his arm and waves it to spark a ceasefire.
The movie was also released with a poster reading, "Anyone who offends the Chinese nation will be punished regardless of the distance."
Immediately after the movie's release, this poster was shared widely and many expressed that they felt touched and patriotic.
Frank Li, a netizen who studied abroad, told the Global Times he has watched many films about Americans saving the world and it's refreshing to see one in which a Chinese soldier is the hero.
Meanwhile, on Sina Weibo, lots of articles appeared saying that the film shows the ways in which China is great. One titled "a Chinese passport may not take you to everywhere in the world, but can definitely pick you up and take you home from any corner of the world" circulated, beginning with "no matter what danger you encounter overseas, remember, you'll have a strong country backing you up." The article recounted several cases of evacuation abroad during times of natural disaster or political turmoil, saying the Chinese government has always acted in a timely manner.
On Weibo, some even claimed that during screenings of the movie, the scene in which Leng carries the Chinese flag prompted cinemagoers to stand up and start singing the Chinese national anthem.
Wang, a former designer with the China Railway No.8 Engineering Group, was one of the Chinese nationals evacuated from Libya in 2011. He sent out a Weibo post after watching Wolf Warriors 2, describing his excitement.
"From 2011 till now, it's been six years (since the evacuation). China has improved a great deal since then and has stronger national defense power. Now people who are overseas should feel prouder, more confident and more secure!" he wrote.
Wang told the People's Daily during the turmoil six years ago that chaos quickly broke out in Libya. Waves of rioters and local police alike came to his factory's camp and raided the workers' dormitories, robbing and smashing as they went. Wang and a translator had to rescue several people from being robbed at gunpoint. At that time, he felt despair and feared he would be taken hostage.