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Chinese Sci-fi Blockbuster, The Wandering Earth, Arrives in America

Last weekend, the fantasy drama quietly made it onto screens at AMC theaters in North America.

Selina Cheng
    Feb 13, 2019 6:29 PM  PT
Chinese Sci-fi Blockbuster, The Wandering Earth, Arrives in America

China's first big-budget science fiction thriller, The Wandering Earth, similar to Hollywood blockbusters like Interstellar and Gravity, is a big hit among moviegoers and has pocketed more than 2.8 billion yuan since its release on Feb. 5, the first day of the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday, according to box office tracker Maoyan.

The box office number is still climbing, and not just in China.

Last weekend, the fantasy drama quietly made it onto screens at AMC theaters in North America. The movie is in Chinese but with English subtitles, and all the IMAX tickets in the San Jose AMC theater are currently sold out for the next three days. 

State-run news agency Xinhua described the movie as a "new dawn for China's sci-fi filmmaking,"  and spokeswoman Chunying Hua, in one of the regular state press conference, urged journalists to watch the movie.

Forbes predicts that "not only might The Wandering Earth earn more in China than any Hollywood release earns in North America in 2019 or ever, it might make more in China than all but a few very big releases (Avengers 4, Star Wars 9, Frozen 2, etc.) earn worldwide over the next 12 months."

After The Wandering Earth, Chinese fans are eagerly waiting for the next sci-fi blockbuster called The Three-Body Problem, which is adapted from The Three-Body Problem novel series by Liu Cixin, the same author who wrote The Wandering Earth. 

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC), owned by Beijing-based Wanda Group, is the only movie theater that has imported this Chinese movie into the U.S.  

Investors are hoping that this hit movie will help the fortunes of AMC Entertainment. For the industry as a whole, which has suffered from box-office flops and consumer migration to movie-streaming services like Netflix. The industry, in particular, was hurt this week with the disappointing opening of The Lego Movie 2.

The stock of AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC), which is controlled by Beijing-based Wanda Group, is down more than 30 percent over the past three months. Shares closed today at $13.51, up 25 cents.


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