Mojin: The Lost Legend

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Mojin: The Lost Legend
The Ghouls (2015 film) poster.jpeg
Poster
Traditional
Simplified
Mandarin Guĭ Chuī Dēng Zhī Xún Lóng Jué
Cantonese Gwai2 Ceoi1 Dang1 Zi1 Cam4 Lung4 Kyut3
Directed by Wuershan
Produced by Chen Kuo-fu
Written by Tianxia Bachang
Based on Ghost Blows Out the Light
by Tianxi Bachang
Starring
Production
companies
Release date
  • December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18)
Running time
125 minutes
Country China
Language Mandarin
Budget US$37 million[2]
Box office US$278.3 million[3]

Mojin: The Lost Legend (previously titled The Ghouls)[4] (English: Touching Gold: The Lost Legend)[5] is a 2015 Chinese action adventure fantasy thriller film based on the novel Ghost Blows Out the Light.[6] It was directed by Wuershan and produced by Chen Kuo-fu. The film was released on December 18, 2015.[7][8]

Plot[edit]

At the beginning of the 1990s, famous tomb explorer Hu Bayi, Wang Kaixuan and Hu's fiancée Shirley Yang decided to retire to Manhattan. After a supposedly split of the team, Wang Kaixuan was pulled into a deal to locate the ancient tomb of a Mongolian princess. Hu Bayi have been having recurring nightmare of his first love, Ding Sitian, who had supposedly died 20 years ago in an underground tomb beneath the Mongolian plains. The team is lured back to their original vocation by a mysterious, businesswoman/cult leader Ying Caihong who wants them to find the ancient tomb of a Mongolian princess. They eventually learn that what she really wants is to possess a famed artifact known as the Equinox Flower that allegedly has the power to raise the dead.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming locations in Mojin: The Lost Legend

The film is based on the popular adventure novel series Ghost Blows Out the Light about a trio of legendary grave robbers,[9] and is the second film following Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe to be adapted based on the series.[5] Mojin was based on the series' last four volumes while Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe was based on series’ first four volumes.[5] After Wanda Media acquired the rights to film the last four volumes, other production companies such as Huayi Brothers Media and Beijing Enlight Pictures came on board, adding financial and produced the project.[5]

Filming wrapped up in New York City in late March 2015.[7] As of October 14, 2015, the film was being remastered for the IMAX 3D format.[4]

Release[edit]

The film was released in 2D, 3D, IMAX and IMAX 3D formats in China on December 18, 2015,[4][10] and on the same day in the United States and Canada in 2D by Well Go USA Entertainment across 30 theaters.[11] Following the huge commercial success of Chinese films like Monster Hunt and Lost in Hong Kong, Greg Foster, senior executive VP, IMAX Corporation and CEO of IMAX Entertainment said the company was looking forward to witness such success again with the film because the suspenseful and visual nature of the film, combined with the Chinese cultural interest in treasure-hunting, makes Mojin: The Lost Legend a perfect fit for the IMAX experience.[4] It was released in a total of 269 IMAX screens in mainland China.[12]

Due to sensitive issues about the circulation of national treasures abroad and the reported prevalence of grave robbing in poorer parts of China, the subject was feared to be taboo on screen, making the project one of the Chinese film industry's most anticipated movie over its three and a half production period.[5]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Prior to its release, various film critics were predicting the film would be a significant hit at the box office.[13][14] It is the highest-grossing IMAX film of all time in China with $27.1 million (as of January 6, 2016).[12] Mojin: The Lost Legend earned US$26.4 million on its opening day in China which is the highest-grossing opening day for a 3D local language film.[15] This includes the US$1.34 million it earned from midnight screenings, also a new record for a 3D local film.[16] In addition to this, it earned the largest single-day gross for a local 3D title ($35.5 million on Saturday, December 19).[16] Through its opening weekend, it grossed US$85 million (per Rentrak), US$91.9 million (per Entgroup) and debuted at No. 1 in China and No. 2 worldwide (behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens).[17][18][19] The film has the third biggest three-day opening of all time in China behind Monster Hunt and Lost in Hong Kong (both of which were also released in 2015).[16][19] Furthermore, it also broke the record for the biggest IMAX midnight gross (US$300,000), opening day (US$2.7 million) and opening weekend (US$7.5 million) from 250 IMAX screens.[16]

In its second weekend, it grossed another US$44 million – US$95.7 million in its full second week – falling behind newcomer Devil and Angel.[20][21] Of that US$6 million alone came from 259 IMAX screens for a 10-day cume of US$17.6 million becoming the second-highest grossing local language film for IMAX ever in China.[22] The film went on to surpass Monster Hunt (US$27.0 million) to become the highest-grossing Chinese-language IMAX film in China, with US$27.1 million.[23] It is only behind Furious 7 (US$39 million) when incorporating all kinds of films.[24]

In the United States and Canada, it opened with US$280,000 from 22 theaters.[25]

Critical reception[edit]

While the performances of the cast, special effects and action sequences have been praised, the film overall has received largely mixed reviews from western critics.[26] The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 50% approval rating, based on 6 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10.[26]

Daniel M. Gold of The New York Times gave a negative review saying the film wastes some fine actors such as Shu Qi "on predictable, one-dimensional characters, and once the tomb is entered, the underground sets become all but interchangeable. What starts eerie becomes strictly cartoonish."[27] Likewise, the Los Angeles Times gave a negative review.[28] David Noh of Film Journal International states "Grab a big bag of popcorn and a soda and sink yourself into this rambling but skillfully done and surprisingly deep Chinese action romp."[29] Writing for rogerebert.com, Mark Dujsik awarded the film one and a half stars out of four calling it, "equal parts shabby and discomforting."[30]

However, not all reviews were negative. Frank Scheck of The Hollywood Reporter while criticising the film for being overlong, convoluted and repetitive praised the action sequences and special effects deeming it superb in addition to lauding the performances of the leads.[31] Chief Asia film critic Maggie Lee of Variety agreed that the film provided "enough robust action and technical moxie to make audiences overlook its formulaic plotting and rote characterizations."[5] Jake Wilson of The Sydney Morning Herald gave the film three stars out of five writing, "the result can feel a bit disjointed: it takes a long time for things to get started, and there are too many distractions for the hints of social commentary and tragedy to register with much force." He praised the cinematography comparing to that of Peter Jackson's work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy.[32] The Taipei Times said the movie "is lavish, packed with eye-dazzling action and fantastic plots, making it feel right at home among the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider films."[33]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Notes
2016 23rd Beijing College Student Film Festival Best Writing Zhang Jialu Nominated
Best Visual Effects Won
33rd Hundred Flowers Awards Best Film Nominated [34][35]
Best Director Wuershan Won
Best Actress Shu Qi Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Xia Yu Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Angelababy Won
53rd Golden Horse Film Festival and Awards Best Visual Effects Douglas Hans Smith, Sam Wang, Sam Khorshid, Strilen Liu Won [36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Wuershan and Chen Kuo-fu scare up Ghouls". Film Business Asia. 2015-05-06. Retrieved 2015-11-02. 
  2. ^ "Mojin: The Lost Legend (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 17, 2015. 
  3. ^ "BOX OFFICE DATA FOR TUESDAY, 9TH FEBRUARY 2016 (ESTIMATES AS OF 21:30 CST)". Box Office China. Retrieved February 9, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d Patrick Frater (October 14, 2015). "China's 'Mojin' To Release in IMAX 3D Format". Variety. (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Maggie Lee (December 21, 2015). "Film Review: 'Mojin: The Lost Legend'". Variety. Retrieved December 22, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Movie giants to make blockbuster tomb raider story". China Internet Information Center. 2014-08-08. Retrieved 2015-04-12. 
  7. ^ a b "China releasing schedule revealed at seminar". Film Business Asia. 2015-04-10. Retrieved 2015-04-12. 
  8. ^ "寻龙诀 (2015)". movie.douban.com (in Chinese). douban.com. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Director talks about 'Mojin: The Lost Legend'". October 19, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  10. ^ Etan Vlessing (October 14, 2015). "Imax to Release Homegrown Movie 'Mojin-The Lost Legend' in China". The Hollywood Reporter. (Prometheus Global Media). Retrieved October 14, 2015. 
  11. ^ Nancy Tartaglione (December 9, 2015). "China's December Box Office Blackout Pics: Action, Fantasy & Mike Tyson? – Video". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 10, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b Patrick Frater (January 8, 2016). "'Mojin' Breaks IMAX Box Office Record in China (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2016. 
  13. ^ Nancy Tartaglione (December 9, 2015). "China's December Box Office Blackout Pics: Action, Fantasy & Mike Tyson? – Video". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  14. ^ Jonathan Papish (December 17, 2015). "On Screen China: 'Mojin' Boasts Major Mojo". China Film Insider. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  15. ^ Patrick Brzeski (December 21, 2015). "China Box Office: 'Mojin' Crushes Records With Massive $92M Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 22, 2015. 
  16. ^ a b c d Jonathan Papish (December 21, 2015). "On Screen China: 'Mojin' Racks Up the Box Office Records". China Film Insider. Retrieved December 22, 2015. 
  17. ^ "China Box Office December 18–20, 2015". Box Office Mojo. 
  18. ^ Nancy Tartaglione (December 20, 2015). "'Star Wars' Rules Galaxy; What Else Is Up At The International Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 21, 2015. 
  19. ^ a b Patrick Frater (December 21, 2015). "China Box Office: 'Mojin – The Lost Legend' Finds $90 Million Opening Weekend". Variety. Retrieved December 22, 2015. 
  20. ^ Brent Lang (December 27, 2015). "'Star Wars' Leads Foreign Box Office for Second Straight Week". Variety. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  21. ^ Variety Staff (December 28, 2015). "China Box Office: 'Mojin' and 'Devil' Score Strongly Over Busy Christmas Weekend". Variety. Retrieved December 29, 2015. 
  22. ^ Nancy Tartaglione (December 27, 2015). "'Star Wars', China Trio, 'Peanuts' Lead Weekend – International Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 28, 2015. 
  23. ^ Frater, Patrick (January 8, 2016). "'Mojin' Breaks IMAX Box Office Record in China (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved January 9, 2016. 
  24. ^ Patrick Brzeski (February 24, 2016). "Imax China to Install 100 New Screens in 2016, Bullish on Growth". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 25, 2016. 
  25. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro, Anita Busch (December 21, 2015). "Sunday Is Strong For 'Force Awakens' With All-Time $60.55M; Final Opening-Weekend Record At $247.97M -Monday Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved December 22, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b "Mojin – The Lost Legend (2015)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 19, 2015. 
  27. ^ Daniel M. Gold (December 17, 2015). "Review: 'Mojin: The Lost Legend,' in Search of a Burial Ground". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  28. ^ Michael Rechtshaffen (December 18, 2015). "'Mojin: The Lost Legend' is an overreaching action-comedy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 19, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Film Review: Mojin: The Lost Legend". Film Journal International. December 17, 2015. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  30. ^ Mark Dujsik (December 18, 2015). "Mojin: The Lost Legend". rogerebert.com. Retrieved December 19, 2015. 
  31. ^ Frank Scheck (December 18, 2015). "'Mojin: The Lost Legend': Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 19, 2015. 
  32. ^ Jake Wilson (December 16, 2015). "Mojin: The Lost Legend review: Chinese blockbuster melds fantasy, horror, romance and martial arts". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  33. ^ Ho Yi (December 25, 2015). "Movie review: Mojin — the Lost Legend". Taipei Times. Retrieved December 25, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Nominees of 33rd Hundred Flowers Award announced". China Daily. 2016-08-24. 
  35. ^ "Winners revealed at Chinese famous film awards". China Radio International. 2016-09-25. 
  36. ^ http://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/3038701

External links[edit]