UPDATE: I have just been informed that Ip Man 3 (see below) has had its release pushed back and is no longer coming out in December. There is currently no mainland date.
Point Break got in under the wire last Friday to become the final Hollywood movie of 2015 to release in the Middle Kingdom. Now that the December blackout period is in full swing, no further studio pics will see the inside of a PROC multiplex until January. But there’s still a little Hollywood in the mix — by way of Hong Kong. Action threequel Ip Man 3 travels to the mainland on December 31 and sees Mike Tyson face off with superstar martial artist Donnie Yen. The movies that will drive box office earlier in the month are a packed slate of action, fantasy and laughs.
Domestic Chinese films dominated 2014 with 54.5% of the market. As November closed this year, they were at 59%. That will go up now. Titles we’ll be talking about through the end of the year include Shi Fu/The Master, Mojin – The Lost Legend and Mr Six. See trailers above and below. (Jackie Chan/Johnny Knoxville action buddy comedy, Skiptrace, was originally due for a December release but has been pushed to February.)
Among the December movies that scored big last year was Tsui Hark’s The Taking Of Tiger Mountain which grossed over $150M after a December 23 release. And yet, even for local titles, Chinese tastes can be fickle. The hugely anticipated Gone With The Bullets, which broke pre-sales records last year, underperformed on its December 18, 2014 release.
December 18 is a hopeful date again this year. In the rest of the world (save India and some smaller markets), Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the main game. China is instead relying on Mojin – The Lost Legend (aka The Ghouls) to carry that date. Industry sources expect this to be one of the biggest movies in the Middle Kingdom this winter.
Check out more on the films, along with trailers, below:
Shi Fu/The Master
Releasing December 11, The Grandmaster writer Xi Haofeng returns to directing with this action drama. Among the stars are Black Coal Thin Ice‘s Liao Fan and Jiang Wenli of Farewell My Concubine (no subtitles):
Mojin – The Lost Legend (The Ghouls)
On December 18, the action/comedy treasure hunt pic from Wanda and Huayi Brothers trots out a bevy of stars including The Assassin‘s Qi Shu; rising international star Angelababy (Independence Day: Resurgence, Hitman: Agent 47); Breakup Buddies‘ Bo Huang; and Kun Chen (Snow Girl And The Dark Crystal, Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate). Director is Wuershan of Painted Skin: The Resurrection and Well Go USA has domestic release, also planned for December 18:
Director Hu Guan’s actioner played Toronto and closed the Venice Film Festival earlier this year to largely positive reviews. Helmer and occasional actor Feng Xiaogang plays a former streetfighter who’s pulled back into the fray and finds the world quite changed. Kris Wu and Li Yifeng co-star. China Lion is releasing Stateside in step with the Middle Kingdom on December 24:
Ip Man 3
As the title suggests, this threequel is inspired by the legendary martial artist Yip Man who trained Bruce Lee (and was also the subject of Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster). Donnie Yen (who’s next up in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Legend and Star Wars spinoff Rogue One) reprises his lead role in the Hong Kong action franchise which debuts in China on December 31. This time around, Mike Tyson joins the proceedings. Well Go USA has this one Stateside: