Animated Film About Cheeky Kid With Powers Breaks Records

A still from Ne Zha

Chinese mythology’s most beloved iconoclast has made a triumphant return to the silver screen, smashing box office records and invigorating the country’s flagging film industry.

After five years in the making, “Ne Zha” has raked in over 1 billion yuan ($145 million) since its release Friday, snatching the crown from “Monkey King: Hero Is Back,” which screened four years ago and previously held the title of highest-grossing animated film from China. “Ne Zha” has also set a new domestic record for highest opening box office of any animated film — from China, Japan, Hollywood, or anywhere else. Maoyan, an online ticketing platform and box office data provider, projects that the film will take in over 3 billion yuan by the end of its run in theaters.

The cinematic story of Ne Zha — a rebellious boy who is born to become a demon but later defies his destiny — is adapted from the literary classic “Fengshen Yanyi,” or “The Investiture of the Gods.” The film’s director, Yang Yu, said he wanted to make a movie about Ne Zha because he harbored fond memories of “Prince Ne Zha’s Triumph Against the Dragon King,” a film that premiered in 1979 during a period that is often described as a renaissance for Chinese animation.

For years, China’s animators have had their doubts about whether it’s possible to achieve commercial viability in the domestic film industry. In China as in many other markets the world over, Disney dominates, with the country seeing few animated success stories since “Monkey King.” But “Ne Zha” has lived up to the hype ahead of its release and is the first animated film in years to stoke real confidence in the market. Continue to read the full article here.


– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.