China's movie market flourishes during Spring Festival season
Wang Wei, Li Qiong

For many in China, going to the movies during the Spring Festival holidays is a must. Over the past week, a total of eight major productions have hit cinemas across the country, leaving movie fans spoiled with choice. 

According to MaoYan, a leading ticketing website, the Spring Festival season raked in more than 1.4 billion RMB (about 215 million U.S. dollars) on Tuesday alone, the first day of the Chinese New Year. The sales marked a new world record in terms of single-market daily box-office revenues.

A poster of "Crazy Alien." /VCG Photo

A poster of "Crazy Alien." /VCG Photo

Leading the pack is "Crazy Alien," a sci-fi comedy directed by Ning Hao. By midday on Thursday, it had taken in nearly 800 million RMB. Other favorites are also comedies. "Pegasus," directed by the novelist Han Han, chronicles the unlikely success of a short-order cook on the racetrack. "The New King of Comedy" from Stephen Chow also had filmgoers rolling in the aisles.

The biggest surprise in this year's Spring Festival line-up is the sci-fi drama "The Wandering Earth." Despite the genre generally being considered ill-suited to the season's festive cheer, the movie spun a fascinating yarn about a bold attempt to take the planet earth out of a collapsing solar system. 

A poster of "The Wandering Earth." /VCG Photo

A poster of "The Wandering Earth." /VCG Photo

“The film was adapted from a story by Mr. Liu Cixin, written some 20 years ago. It was conceived in the city of Chengdu, where Liu lives," said director Guo Fan, "So we've chosen Chengdu as the first stop of our promotional tour. We consider Chengdu the birthplace of the film.”

"The Wandering Earth" has gained both critical and popular acclaim, scoring 8.1 points on Douban.com, one of China's biggest social networking sites.