Cannes-nominated Chinese film grosses $27m at domestic box office

The Wild Goose Lake, a Chinese independent art film previously nominated for the Palme d’Or of the Cannes Film Festival, has raked in a box office of over 190 million yuan ($27.2 million) over the past 10 days since debuting on the Chinese mainland.

This is the second-best performance for a Chinese art film in the local market. Long Day’s Journey Into Night, a film from young Chinese director Bi Gan, holds the record with 282 million yuan.

The Wild Goose Lake, directed by Diao Yinan, blurs the boundary between art films and gangster movies. It tells the story of how a desperate criminal ends his life with love for his family in a southern Chinese city.

Diao, born in 1968, won a Golden Bear for the best film at the Berlin Film Festival with Black Coal, Thin Ice.

Despite the difficulties facing China’s film and television industry, art films are currently enjoying something of a renaissance. In the past, most art films reported dismal takings at the box office.

By attracting diversified investments and inviting popular stars such as Hu Ge and Gui Lunmei, The Wild Goose Lake generated significant buzz on social media. It even took advantage of Alibaba’s Tmall gala and live webcast celebrity Li Jiaqi to further boost ticket sales.

“Chinese art films are making breakthroughs in terms of content, genre and distribution,” said Shen Yang, producer of The Wild Goose Lake, who has brought many Chinese art films aboard.

The Wild Goose Lake has already been released in countries including New Zealand, Australia and Russia. It will hit screens in France and Spain soon and in the US in March 2020, Shen said.

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