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Passion for Marvel heroes grows in China

Editor: Qian Ding 丨CCTV.com

05-16-2018 16:20 BJT

By Qian Ding, CCTV.com reporter

The Marvel and Disney blockbuster "Avengers: Infinity War" has pocketed more than 1.4 billion yuan (around 220.58 million U.S. Dollars) at the Chinese box office, as of 11:20 a.m on May 15. According to Disney, the movie directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth and Scarlett Johansson, is the second biggest 3-day weekend opening in China.

Now with the movie's haul in the country, "Infinity War" has surpassed other hit films on the all time worldwide list, such as "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," and "Black Panther," to become the fifth biggest movie in history.

The movie came highly-anticipated in China. On April 19, Shanghai Disneyland Resort held Marvel's fan event for Avengers: Infinity War. Huge crowds flocked to the resort, fans were camping out overnight at Disneyland, many had traveled miles from other cities to meet their beloved idols. The space was packed by anxious people acting chaotically. Although the event was much criticized for its poor organization, it shows the Chinese fans' amazing passion and loyalty, as well as a representing huge force in the international market.

In this combination of photos from Weibo users in China, fans line up at the red carpet zone entrance on the eve of the "Avengers: Infinity War" premiere at the Shanghai Disney Resort, Wednesday, April 18, 2018. (Photo courtesy of Weibo.com)

Enthusiasm for Marvel superheros continues to grow in China. According to China Film News, Marvel's "Thor: Ragnarok" dominated the Chinese film market during its debut week ending Nov. 5 of 2017, earning 50.8 million U.S. dollars; "Black Panther" opened in China with $66.5 million in its first three days, which made China the largest international territory for the film; "Doctor Strange" debuted as number one movie in Chinese box offices for the week ending November.6, 2016, grossing a total of 44 million U.S. dollars since hitting Chinese screens on Nov.4, 2016; "Captain America: Civil War" beat domestic romance "Finding Mr.Right 2" in the week ending May 8, 2016, earning 95.7 million U.S. dollars after opening on May 6, 2016.

Director Joe Russo behind Marvel's Captain America franchise promotes the latest "Captain America: Civil War" in Beijing, capital of China, April 19, 2016. Main cast Captain America-Chris Evans, Winter Soldier-Sebastian Stan and Falcon-Anthony Mackie also join him. (Xinhuanet photo)

Marvel related products are also very popular in the Chinese market. UTGP Marvel short-sleeve graphic t-shirts enjoy hot sales in the country, some of which have already been sold out. There are also costumes, statues, key chains and other Marvel related products on sale in Chinese online shopping sites.

In order to attract more Chinese fans and branch out its comic universe, Marvel has teamed up with NetEase Comics, China's internet gaming giant, creating their first official Chinese superheroes."These characters will have various connections with the Marvel Universe, including the infrastructure of cities they live in, like Stark Industries advertisements," said a NetEase spokesperson. For now the comics are only in Chinese, and fans outside of China must acquire a NetEase cloud reader app from an app site to read them. After its debut, one of the comics, Warriors of Three Sovereigns has already been read more than two million times. "one user on NetEase said "We finally have Chinese superheroes," another added "Maybe one day they'll be able to fight alongside The Avengers."

Marvel's fan base in China keeps expanding. Robert Koepp, director of Economist Corporate Network, told BBC. "Disney [who own Marvel] must think there is a lot of untapped market potential [in China]." Different from common Hollywood superhero movies, which promote individualistic heroism, Marvel's The Avengers series showcased the importance of collaboration. Superheroes help each other to fight their enemy, which requires self-sacrifice. Such traits touch the hearts of most Chinese audiences, since China remains a collective society, self-devotion for the team is highly-praised and considered integral to heroism.

Marvel's success in China also sparkled debate between Chinese and American heroes. Last year, Wolf Warrior, a movie portrayed a Chinese superhero who takes a special mission around the world, which had become the highest-grossing Chinese movie ever released, however, the movie was not as highly-praised abroad. Compared with the huge success of Marvel movies shared in China, Chinese hero movies have a long way to go in the international market. As one Quoran named Du wrote: "On a world scale, Chinese movies appear to be a long way from competing with America's or even South Korea's. As a Chinese teen, I feel very sad but have to accept this fact. But I hope one day I can enjoy movies of Captain China at a cinema."

(The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )


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