This undated photo shows a poster for The Wandering Earth II at a cinema in the Haidian district of Beijing. BEIJING -- With a total box office revenue of over 4 billion yuan about $579.27 million, the sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth II has emerged as one of the highest-grossing films in China's history, and the huge popularity of the film has created an extraordinary buzz in the country's film merchandising market.
After watching The Wandering Earth II, 30 year-old film enthusiast Luo Yuxing purchased a presold USB flash drive that replicates the digital life memorizer from the movie through an online crowdfunding campaign on the same day.
Luo, who was among the first supporters of The Wandering Earth II merchandise crowdfunding, said that they purchased it out of their passion for the film and to support domestic sci-fi movies.
Over 100 million yuan has been earned within just a few days of crowdfunding, setting a new record in China's film and television industry.
One of the authorized merchandise manufacturers, 52 TOYS has released a toy designed based on a robot dog featured in the movie. They raised more money than anticipated, according to Huang Jin, co-founder and president of the company.
The funding quickly exceeded 1 million yuan and eventually reached more than 12 million yuan, he said.
The charm of the film is what makes Huang believes that the merchandise's popularity lies in the charm of the film. He said that the film's intellectual property has resonated with the audience.
Recent years have witnessed the rapid development of Chinese film production with a series of blockbusters like Monkey King: Hero is Back in 2015 and Ne Zha in 2019 boosting the country's film merchandise market. There are a wide variety of products available in the market, such as mugs, phone cases, T-shirts, and mecha toys.
The box office tracker Maoyan shows a scene featuring Andy Lau in The Wandering Earth II, a prequel to the 2019 sci-fi blockbuster The Wandering Earth.
Ji Shaoting, head of the Future Affairs Administration, said the increasing popularity of film merchandise is indicative of the increasing demand among moviegoers. Consumers are willing to pay not only for basic functions of cultural products but also for added value, according to Ji.
The industry insiders believe there is enormous potential in China's film merchandise market, as most of the domestic film revenues are still from box office and product placement within films, while revenues from film merchandise are rather limited.
Rao Shuguang, president of the China Film Critics Association, said that the development of the domestic film merchandise market is closely linked to the progress of film industrialization in China.
READ MORE: The Wandering Earth II : Wanders too far? Rao said that the production of film merchandise will promote the healthy and sustainable development of the Chinese film industry.