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‘Tom and Jerry’ to hit Chinese mainland cinemas as moviegoers remain wary

2021/2/24 11:34:10   source:Global Times

Promotional material of film Tom and Jerry (2021). Photo: Weibo

According to a Variety report on Saturday, Warner Bros' Tom and Jerry, a new film inspired by the classic slapstick cartoon, is "quietly" set to hit Chinese mainland cinemas on Friday, the day of the Lantern Festival in 2021, in an attempt to ride the wave of the still burgeoning mainland box office following its record-breaking success during the recent Spring Festival.

The first foreign movie to debut in the Chinese mainland after the Spring Festival, the new film is a live-action hybrid "remake" based on the original Tom & Jerry cartoon series.

The film has seen high anticipation from Chinese netizens on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo, with the hashtag for the film earning more than 100 millions of views as of Tuesday.

While some moviegoers have said that the film is a must-see since the Tom and Jerry IP is "too classic to be missed," some netizens have remained conservative, expressing the fear that the new hybrid might potentially ruin their childhood memories.

"Let the classic be. If you just want to make money out of it but don't want to add any real new twists, then you'd better not touch it. You are just asking for hate," posted one netizen on Sina Weibo.

Some others tend to be even more dubious about it, suggesting Warner Brother's quick move into the Chinese market after seeing the current good climate of Chinese film industry growth is opportunistic.

"Like how a thirsty man in the desert looks for water, I guess they really want to get some drops of water from the Chinese market," wrote another Sina Weibo user.

"I think you can't blame the film companies if they sail with the wind. Tom and Jerry is just the beginning. They will start to bring such films into China because they see the market here is good and capable," a 28-year-old Hollywood film fan told the Global Times on Tuesday, noting that foreign films such as Godzilla vs. Kong (2021) and Nomadland (2020) have recently announced that they will be released in the Chinese mainland.

Looking at the film's chances at the box office, more than 400,000 moviegoers have marked the film as "want to see" on major Chinese online ticketing platforms Maoyan and Tao Piao Piao as of Tuesday, and so far the film has earned 240,000 yuan ($37,150) in presales.

"Comparing the 'want to see' data, it is close to that of the Spring Festival film End Game. Tom and Jerry can potentially be a popular choice during the Lantern Festival and may also surpass End Game's box office. The power of this IP is obviously greater than that movie," Shi Wenxue, a Chinese film critic, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"I'll buy a ticket for this and treat it as a light-hearted occasion to mark the Lantern Festival. I would have probably passed on it if it were not on that particular occasion though. Plus, I don't have children," Xinxin, a 32-year-old moviegoer in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

"I think I'll pass. I'll watch it if it is on TV, but when it comes to cinemas, I'm looking for some Hollywood films with more depth and sincerity," Ling, a 25-year-old moviegoer in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

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