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Ne Zha welcome blast from the past

By Zhang Zhouxiang | China Daily | Updated: 2019-07-31 08:27

Chinese animated film Ne Zha has proved to be a big winner in this summer's box office.[Photo provided to China Daily]

A NEW CARTOON FILM, Ne Zha, based on a mythical figure in Chinese folklore, has been a box office phenomenon while reviving memories of one of the best cartoon films in China's modern history. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

Within five days of hitting the screens, the film had made 1 billion yuan ($145 million). In fact, for three successive days its single-day sales exceeded 200 million yuan.

Ne Zha has won unprecedented high popularity from the market and applause from professionals, which is quite rare. Even on Douban, China's equivalent of IMDb where audiences and commentators are rather critical, it got a rating of 8.7 out of 10, possibly one of the highest in the website's history.

But on domestic social media networks, some have compared it with Prince Ne Zha's Triumph Against the Dragon King, an animated movie that hit the screens in 1979. Based on the same legendary story, the traditional film is cherished by most people born in the 1980s, because it's possibly the first animated movie they watched.

Some worry that the new cartoon film's success might dampen the older version's glory. On Sina Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, surveys were asking people to choose their favorite between the two.

But that worry is unfounded. Both films are based on the same legendary story and can only benefit each other. Actually, the older Prince Ne Zha's Triumph Against the Dragon King is seldom mentioned nowadays, and Ne Zha has only revived it in people's memories. The success of the new movie can only make the other brighter.

China has a rich storehouse of traditional stories, and exploiting them for modern works will only help these legends continue to live on. That's the essence of a culture that's proud enough to exert influence in the modern world.

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