China’s box office this year, though still far lower than in pre-Covid times, hit a triumphalist crescendo in the first week of October, as the nation celebrated the extended National Day holiday.
There were three Chinese animated features among the slew of domestic films that came out on October 1, the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Dear Tutu: Operation T-Rex came third on its opening weekend with USD$3.5 million, with Goldbeak following in fifth with $2.7M.
Tan Tan Meow: The Mermaid Princess was released alongside them. A few days later, on October 3, a fourth animated feature was released, though this was not entirely domestic: Extinct, directed by Simpsons veteran David Silverman, is a Chinese-American-Canadian co-production.
Dear Tutu: Operation T-Rex is the latest feature spin-off from the popular preschool series Big Ear Tutu. It is directed by Su Da and produced by the venerable Shanghai Animation Film Studio:
Based on a traditional children’s game, Goldbeak is a family cg feature about an eagle raised by chickens who sets off to discover his true self. It is directed by Dong Long and produced by Liang Zi Film:
Tan Tan Meow: The Mermaid Princess is a spin-off from the Tan Tan Mao franchise. It is directed by Song Tinghui and produced by Zhejiang Fengshang Ruizhi Co.:
China has always tightly controlled the distribution of foreign films, and Western tentpoles are blocked around public holidays in particular. But Hollywood studios have found it harder than usual to get their films into Chinese theaters in recent months, with censors banning or holding up major titles — some, like Marvel’s Eternals, apparently because of political controversies linked to cast or crew.
Image at top: “Dear Tutu: Operation T-Rex”