A heartwarming sci-fi comedy about a Chinese astronaut who thinks he’s the last human being has spectacularly revived the Chinese box office. moon Man, directed by Zhang Chiyu of hit-making comedy troupe Mahua FunAge, opened over the weekend for $148 million, including presales, according to data from Artisan Gateway. Local ticketing app Maoyan expects the film to earn more than $640 million (RMB 4.34 billion) before it leaves Chinese screens, making it the country’s sixth-biggest film of all time.
Like a more whimsical version of The Martian, moon Man stars Shen Teng (Goodbye Mr Loser) as a Chinese astronaut on the moon who comes to believe he is the last human in the universe after witnessing an asteroid collide with Earth. In reality, Earth’s many survivors, including his dream girl (Ma Li), live stream all of his movements.
The film has delighted Chinese critics and regular moviegoers alike, with social scores of 9.3 from Maoyan, 9.5 from Tao Piao Piao and 7 from Douban’s movie buffs.
moon Man earned $6.3 million in Imax theaters, marking the giant screen exhibitor’s best summer opening in China since pre-pandemic.
Zhang, a key figure of the Mahua FunAge troop, burst into the Chinese movie scene with his directorial debut never say dead in 2017. The film earned $333 million, the third-largest total in China that year. Other hits from Mahua FunAge, a theater group turned TV and film producer, include: Goodbye Mr Loser (2015; $228 million) and hello mr billionaire (2018; $367 million).
moon ManThe company’s success has been applauded by the entire Chinese film industry, which has struggled in 2022 amid Beijing’s ‘zero COVID’ approach to the pandemic, as the entire city regularly closes cinemas and suppresses consumer confidence. Overall, total cinema ticket sales in 2022 will be 33 percent lower than last year.
In an interview with the Chinese state press, Zhang spoke about the industry’s recent troubles, saying, “The difficulties are always temporary and they will pass. We will be victorious.”
Holdover titles made small gains in moon Manis awake. Hong Kong action comedy detective vs detectives approached the $100 million mark, adding $3.5 million for a sales total of $99 million. Sentimental drama Light up the stars earned $3.4 million, bringing the total to an impressive $245 million.