'The Wandering Earth' taps into China's arrival in the space race
The Point with Liu Xin

China's first science fiction blockbuster set in space, “The Wandering Earth,” has come up as the winner of the most competitive box office race of the Spring Festival holiday, and garnered 1.45 billion yuan (or over 200 million U.S. dollars) in its first five days in the theaters. 

The film, which comes as China is making great strides in space exploration, is being seen by many as a signal China has joined the “space race”. But are the two really linked? 

"'The Wandering Earth' is a landmark in Chinese film history”, commented critic and film maker Joanne Cheng. In her mind, 'The Wandering Earth' is a film about a disaster that comments on the relationship between human and space. 

“The Wandering Earth” takes place at the end of this century, at a time when the sun is about to expand into a red giant and devour the Earth. 

The engineers have devised a plan to build 10,000 fusion-powered thrusters to push Earth out of its orbit and head toward a new solar system, but things go very badly when the Earth is about to collide with Jupiter, setting off a desperate scramble to save humanity. 

This film is considered to be the dawn of Chinese sci-fi movies and Frant Guo, the film's director, has said that 2019 could be seen as the “year zero” of Chinese sci-fi blockbusters. 

“What is the strongest feeling in China now? It is the sense of future."

"There is no place in the world (that) has such a strong sense of future as China… Naturally, it promotes the prosperity of science fiction films and science fiction literature”, said Hugo Award-winner Liu Cixin, author of the original novel in one of his interviews. 

Adding on Liu's remark, Professor Yang Yuguang from China Aerospace Science and Industry Group mentioned that in a fast changing and developing society, the environment is very suitable to produce better sci-fi movies.


When speaking of the movie, Chen Qiufan also spoke highly of Wu Jing, who starred and invested in this film. Wu, also directed and starred the mega-hit movie "Wolf Warrior 2", commented that this film is a milestone in Chinese film history and could inspire people to produce more high-quality sci-fi films. 

When asked about whether he worried about the prospect of this movie in the first place, Wu Jing replied, “We might be the only people who are willing to shoot such films in China. Even if it is not successful, it is still better than nothing. In fact, we have already succeeded when more than 7,000 people were involved in the production process-these 7,000 people are the seeds of Chinese sci-fi movies.” 

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com.)