Monkey King: Hero Is Back

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Monkey King: Hero Is Back
Monkey King Hero is Back Chinese film poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byTian Xiaopeng
Based onJourney to the West
by Wu Cheng'en
Beijing Weiyingshidai Culture & Media
Hengdian Chinese Film Production Co.
October Animation Studio
S&C Pictures
Shandong Film and Television Production Center
Distributed byUnited Entertainment Partners (China)
Viva Pictures (USA)
Big Picture 2 Films (Portugal)
SC Films International (World-wide)
Release date
  • 10 July 2015 (2015-07-10)
Running time
90 minutes
BudgetUS$16 million[1]
Box officeUS$153 million[2]

Monkey King: Hero Is Back (Chinese: 西游记之大圣归来; pinyin: Xīyóu jì zhī dà shèng guīlái; literally: 'Journey to the West's Return') is a 2015 Chinese computer-animated film directed by first time director Tian Xiaopeng.[3] The film was released on 10 July 2015.[4] The film was the highest-grossing animated film in China until it was surpassed by Zootopia and Kung Fu Panda 3.[5][6]


The all-powerful Monkey King, Sun Wukong, once roamed freely between Heaven and Earth, but after angering & defying the Gods and defeating the heavenly army, he is imprisoned by Buddha within an ice cage deep within the mountains.

500 years later, monsters attack a small village and a boy monk, sole survivor of a previous attack as a baby, flees to the mountains to save a baby girl. The boy stumbles into the cave where the Monkey King was imprisoned and unknowingly, releases him from his curse. However, a remnant of Buddha's seal prevents Sun Wukong from regaining his full powers. Despite being restricted by Buddha's seal, Sun Wukong fights bravely against the monsters to protect the children who implicitly trust him.

However, events escalate and the girl is abducted by the leader of the monsters, who easily overcomes Sun Wukong, due to his powers being suppressed by Buddha's seal. It is shown that the Monster Lord plans to refine the baby girl and the other recently abducted babies into elixirs, like the previous batches of babies which were abducted & sacrificed over the years. In the process of rescuing her and the other babies who were kidnapped by the monsters, the young boy is killed.

On seeing his death, the Monkey King erupts into a full rage and forcibly breaks Buddha's Seal with sheer brute force, despite the seal still trying to suppress him. This returns his original supernatural powers to him and he easily defeats the Monster Lord.

As the story ends, it is revealed the young boy was not dead, but was only seriously injured and had fallen unconscious. The abducted children are returned to their families by the boy monk and his teacher (who had somehow tracked him to the monster's lair) on floating clouds summoned by the Monkey King. However, Sun Wukong himself does not appear in this scene and it is not shown or stated where he has disappeared off to.


Character Mandarin English
Sun Wukong, the Monkey King Lei Zhang Jackie Chan
Liuer Zijie Lin Kannon Kurowski
Old Monk Wenlun Wu James Hong
Evil Lord Zirong Tong Feodor Chin
Pigsy Jiurong Liu Roger Craig Smith
Jade Emperor TBA David S. Jung
Father Qianjing Zhao
Lady Troll Wu Di Nika Futterman


7.8 million yuan ($1.23 million) of the film's marketing costs was raised through crowdfunding, in exchange for listing of 109 producers (many of whom are children) in the film's credits.[7][8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Awards Category Outcome
2015 Golden Rooster Awards Best Animated Feature Won[9]
2015 Silk Road International Film Festival Animated Film of the Year 2015 Won[10]
2015 China Animation & Comic Competition Golden Dragon Award Best Animated Feature Film Won[11]
2015 China Animation & Comic Competition Golden Dragon Award Best Directing for an Animation Won[11]
2015 Sichuan TV Festival Goden Panda Award Best Directing for an Animation Nominated[12]
2015 Golden Horse Film Festival Best Animation Feature Nominated[13]


  1. ^ Amidi, Amid (July 26, 2015). "Breaking: 'Monkey King' Breaks Chinese Record, Surpasses 'Kung Fu Panda 2′". Cartoon Brew. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  2. ^ Patrick Brzeski (August 31, 2015). "China Box Office: 'Terminator Genisys' Marches Towards $100M". The Hollywood Reporter. (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  3. ^ "Forget 'Minions,' 'Monster Hunt' and 'Monkey King' Smash Chinese Box Office Records". Cartoon Brew. 2015-07-19. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
  4. ^ "《大圣归来》概念美术赏 水墨油彩风格多变 东方意境跃然纸上". 2015-07-15. Retrieved 2015-07-19.
  5. ^ Jonathan Papish (January 29, 2016). "On Screen China: Let the Bear Hug Commence—'Kung Fu Panda 3'". China Film Insider. Retrieved January 29, 2016.
  6. ^ Nancy Tartaglione (January 30, 2016). "'Kung Fu Panda 3' In China At $40M+ Through Saturday; Eyes Record Animation Debut". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  7. ^ "Crowdfunding tastes blood in movie".
  8. ^ "Film fans crowdfund new blockbuster".
  9. ^ "Golden Rooster Awards (2015)". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  10. ^ ""第二届丝绸之路国际电影节"在福州落幕". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  11. ^ a b "第12届中国动漫金龙奖获奖名单揭晓". Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  12. ^ "Sichuan TV Festival (2015)". Retrieved 2015-12-13.
  13. ^ "Golden Horse Film Festival (2015)". Retrieved 2015-12-13.

External links[edit]