Author：Verbena C. W，Elaine Yang，Kitten Wang
The Lunar New Year is the most festive and happy occasion for Chinese around the globe. The holiday is as important in China as Christmas is in Europe and America, in fact, the celebration during this time is more elaborate than the holiday atmosphere shown in Bad Santa 2.
There are many theories to the origin of the Lunar New Year, one version said that in ancient China, there was a ferocious mountain beast called “Nian (year)” who attacked humans every 365 days. When people realized it only appeared after dark and left by morning, they cooked dinner early, honored the ancestors, and prayed to the gods for a peaceful evening. After dinner, everyone sat and talked, watching for the Nian (new year) until dawn, and then lit up firecrackers in the early morning to scare away the fierce beast. Nowadays, all kinds of celebrations go on during the lunar new year: lion dances, dragon lanterns, traditional dances etc., waiting for the new year is not just sitting and chatting anymore, there’s the Spring Festival TV Gala show to watch and all kinds of holiday movies to enjoy.
China’s holiday movies began in Hong Kong. Every Lunar New Year is an important season for the movie box office. To match the festive mood, movies for this season tend to be comedies or kung fu movies, light-hearted and humorous in tone. People who finally have a chance to relax during the holiday choose to watch these movies and enjoy themselves. Back in 1995, the first Hong Kong-produced holiday movie shown in mainland China, Rumble in the Bronx, earned more than 57 million Dollars in Hong Kong and 32 million Dollars in America, second only to the Hollywood blockbuster, True Lies.
For kids during the Lunar New Year, animated movies are a big part of their winter break. In the 2016 animated movie, Mr. Nian, the beast Nian came to earth to save the Lunar New Year. Not only did he become an elementary school teacher, he also revived the self-esteem for a little girl named Sha Guo, and became her father figure. Meanwhile, the evil Big Fish tried to destroy the holiday, but thanks to Nian uniting all the retired gods and spirits in fighting back, Big Fish was defeated. The wholesome Nian character erased the negative image he once had in traditional folk stories, and became a hit among kids and young people.
For the Lunar New Year in 2017, the comedy Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back, based on the classic Chinese novel of the same name, arrived to entertain the audience. The story portrayed how Tang Sanzang accepted Monkey King, who killed Miss Duan in the last movie, as his disciple and continued on his journey to the West with Pigsy and Sandy. The box office as of February 7th is already at 1.457 billion yuan.
The action movie Kung Fu Yoga is the latest movie starring Hong Kong star Jackie Chan. The archaeology professor played by Chan has not stepped outside the campus for years and everyone doubted his history know-how. After an old map from an Indian girl piqued his interest, the professor, along with Jones Lee, son of a good friend, and Assistant Teacher Xiaoguang all departed for a treasure expedition. An adventure crossing multiple countries ensued. The box office to date is more than 1.306 billion yuan, and is the biggest competitor to Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back.
Writer, director, and scriptwriter Han Han’s creation, Duckweed, is also a popular holiday movie in 2017. The story revolves around the adventures of Ah Lang, a race car driver misunderstood by his father. The subtle humor and youthful passion shown in the movie have the author’s trademark style. The 6.82 hundred million yuan in box office shows its popularity with the younger audience, fully demonstrating the market potential of holiday movies with an artistic flair.