2024 Spring Festival Season Shatters Box Office Records

Audiences flocked to acclaimed films by comedian Jia Ling, veteran director Zhang Yimou, and more over the Chinese New Year holiday

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1:52 PM HKT, Wed February 21, 2024 1 mins read

As families around the country gathered together to celebrate Chinese New Year,

cinemas throughout China also welcomed a surge of viewers. Maoyan Pro, the leading software for real-time box office tracking in China, reported that the festival season's total box office surpassed 8.05 billion RMB, setting a new record over previous years. Moviegoers purchased over 106.3 million tickets, and cinemas hosted over 3.9 million screenings of local Chinese productions.


Jia Ling’s motivational boxing movie. Poster via Douban.

Leading the pack and recently breaking the 3 billion RMB box office barrier was YOLO, directed by and starring Jia Ling. The movie narrates the story of Le Ying (played by the director), who has aimlessly spent years at home. In her cautious interactions with the outside world, she meets boxing coach Hao Kun (portrayed by Lei Jiayin). Just when Le Ying believes her life is on the verge of improvement, she faces unexpected challenges that test her resilience. The film also holds personal meaning for Jia Ling, who is traditionally known in the Chinese entertainment industry for her comedic roles and chubby physique. For this film, which marks a departure into more serious and mature themes, she underwent a significant transformation, losing over 50 KG to authentically embody a character striving to turn her life around through boxing.


Zhang Yimou’s top-grossing dramedy. Poster via Douban.

Following closely was Article 20, a dramedy from internationally renowned director Zhang Yimou. While at first seeming to deal with quite dark subject matter, the film is different from the dramas or crime and war films Zhang is best known for. After Han Ming (played by Lei Jiayin) takes a temporary at the city prosecutor’s office, his troubles seem to follow one after another. First his son hits the son of his school’s principal and refuses to apologize. Then Han’s wife takes matters into her own hands by beating up the principal. Back at the office, Han’s criminal cases are dragging him into legal trouble. As the struggle between emotion and law unfolds, and the balance between career and family is tested, Han Ming decides to risk everything to advocate for justice in his own way.

Additionally, Boonie Bears: Time Twist secured its place as the highest-grossing animated film, resonating deeply with many Gen Z viewers who grew up watching the classic “Boonie Bears” series. Several of these films have received ratings of over 8.0 on Douban, reflecting a Spring Festival season rich with well-received cinema.

Banner image via YOLO.

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