For the first time ever, China has overtaken the US as the world’s number 1 box office market.
While 2020 will go down in the history books as an anomaly in many industries, one of the biggest markets hit was the humble cinema.
With most cinemas around the world still shut, China’s market staged a decent recovery, reopening back in late July after being closed for almost 180 days, including the lucrative Chinese New Year period.
The Chinese market ended up securing just over 20.4 billion Yuan, or USD$3Billion (3.06) in 2020, the lowest since 2012, but higher than the US$2.28B the US market ended on.
Here are the top 10 highest grossing movies in China for 2020, courtesy of Chinese movie website mtime.
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If you want to see individual movie reviews, scroll down for more
10. Sheep Without A Shepherd (0.501B Yuan)
Released late in 2019, and also appearing in the 2019 Top 10 Movies list, is this excellent Chinese thriller, a remake of the excellent Indian movie Drishyam.
Sheep Without a Shepherd tells the story of a man and his family living in a Chinese community in Thailand. When Li’s older daughter Pingping is drugged and raped at a school camp by the son of a local politician and the Police Chief, he is forced to quickly enact a plan to protect his family and create a water-tight alibi after his wife and daughter accidentally kill him.
Starring Xiao Yang, whose usually in comedy movies, as Li, Zhou Tan as his wife and Hong Kong actor Philip Keung as the politician, this is an exciting cat and mouse thriller from first time Malaysian director Sam Quah.
9. Love You Forever (0.505B Yuan)
Released back in August was this beautiful romantic science fiction drama film.
Starring one of the biggest heartthrobs in China right now, Lee Hong-Chi, as Lin, a man who recalls the story of his first love, a dancer named Xiaoqian. A watch bonds them together, when a tragic accident results in her death, and a wish made upon the watch bring her back to life, but with a serious side effect. He loses several years of his life, and his existence is erased from people’s memory.
A real tear-jerker of a film, this movie is well worth a watch.
8. Adoring (0.51B Yuan)
Another movie that was originally released in 2019, this film spent the first two weeks of 2020 as the number 1 film in the Chinese Box Office. This entertaining drama comedy movie has big cast including the beautiful Zifeng Zhang, the versatile Hewei Yu, action star Wallace Chung and Hong Kong actor William Chan from LORD 2 and the upcoming 2021 Yinyang Master movie.
Adoring follows the story of 6 different groups of people and their pets. To the usual dogs and cats, to one very unique couple with a pet pig, this movie shows how these different groups of people interact with their pets.
7. Caught In Time (0.537B Yuan)
Exploding into Chinese cinemas in late November, and worldwide in early December, was this awesome action thriller Chinese-Hong Kong co-production.
Hong Kong superstar Daniel Wu stars as the criminal Zhang Xun, with Wang Qian-Yuan, who is in another movie on this list, starring as the detective who catches him.
Also starring Jessie Li and Michelle Wai, this movie keeps its run time nice and short at 90 minutes, packing it full of action that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.
6. Shock Wave 2 (0.557B Yuan)
Another movie that exploded into Chinese cinema, and indeed worldwide at the same time, on Christmas Eve was this thrilling and exciting sequel, in name only, to the 2017 original.
With more explosions and far more action than the first film, we follow Poon Shing-fung, a disgraced ex-EODB officer who gets caught up with a dark-web terrorist group called Vendetta, who have plans involving the Hong Kong International Airport and a mini-nuke called Davy Crockett.
This movie is everything the first movie should have been, and is very worth entry in the crowded Hong Kong action thriller category.
5. Leap (0.836B Yuan)
Veteran Hong Kong movie producer Peter Chan returned to the directing chair for the first time in 6 years to helm this biopic of Chinese volleyball legend Jenny Lang Ping.
Starring Gong Li, Lang Ping’s real life daughter Lydia Bai, Huang Bo and Yuchang Peng, this movie follows Ping as she struggles to rebuild the Chinese national team, leading them back to the ultimate success in Rio in 2016, with their remarkable come-back quarterfinal game against the undefeated Brazilian team being the main highlight of the film.
This movie is China’s official nomination for the Foreign Film category for the 2021 Academy Awards.
4. The Sacrifice (1.12B Yuan)
One of two war movies on this list, The Sacrifice is a marvel of filmmaking. Created in just over three months, rushed for release in late October and spending four weeks at number 1; three directors took control of this epic film that’s heavily inspired by the techniques used in American film Dunkirk.
Based on the true story of the Chinese people’s volunteer army who were fighting against the Americans, this movie tells the tale from three perspectives: The American pilot who keeps destroying the bridge, the team who keeps repairing it, and the two men tasked with manning an anti-aircraft gun who are defending it.
Starring the brilliant Wu Jing, the entertaining Zhang Yi, who is also in two more movies on this list, and featuring a cameo from Deng Chao, this movie was a huge hit with the local patriotic audience who didn’t mind the strong red themes in the film.
3. Jiang Ziya (1.6B Yuan)
One of two movies on this list I haven’t seen yet is this animation film about Jiang Ziya, one of the gods mentioned in the Fengshen series of stories and set in the same world as 2019’s megahit NeZha, which was from the same studio as this.
This movie was another one set to originally release during Chinese New Year, and was expected to earn as much, if not more, than the studios previous movie NeZha, however while it still made an impressive 1.6 Billion Yuan, it was beaten every week in the box office it was in release by the next movie on this list…
2. My People My Homeland (2.829B Yuan)
And that movie, is this one: My People My Homeland, a comedy movie parodying the 2019 hit My People My Country. This is the only other movie on this list I haven’t seen yet.
Produced by Zhang Yimou, My People My Homeland is a collection of 5 comedic short stories starring some of the biggest and well-known actors and directors in China.
My People My Homeland holds the 2020 record in China for the biggest opening weekend, set during the National Day holiday week in October, where it had some incredible competition from movies like Jiang Ziya and Jackie Chan’s Vanguard.
1. The Eight Hundred (3.109B Yuan)
Not only is this movie the top Chinese movie of 2020, but it’s also the worldwide number 1 film for 2020. Netting an impressive US$461 Million, this movie spent 4 of its first 5 weeks at the top of Chinese box office.
Coming in at over two and a half hours, this movie was directed by Hu Guan, one of the three directors of The Sacrifice, and stars Wang Qian-Yuan and Zhang Yi. This is a very entertaining movie whose only other downside is the lack of character development of almost every character in the film.
None the less, its still and excellent film and worthy of the number one position.
As you can see, this was an excellent and varied list of Chinese movies that made up their top 10 highest grossing films of 2020. Which ones have you seen and which ones did you enjoy? If you enjoyed this video, please don’t forget to press the like button and subscribe for future videos like this. Thank you for watching.