“Saving General Yang” Extremely Successful on Opening Day

Above: Ekin Cheng stars as the self-sacrificing eldest son to rescue his father at all costs.

The highly anticipated period war movie, Saving General Yang <忠烈楊家將>, opened in theaters on April 4. Despite facing competition from both domestic and international films, Saving General Yang received an extremely positive response from casual movie watchers and professionals alike.

On its opening day, Saving General Yang went up against domestic films Finding Mr. Right <北京遇上西雅圖>, The Chef, the Actor, the Scoundrel <廚子戲子痞子>, and Drug War <毒戰>, as well as Hollywood powerhouses Oz: The Great and Powerful and Jack the Giant Slayer. Nevertheless, the impressive acting line-up, coupled with an engaging storyline and effective promotional events, ensured the film’s success.

Fans eagerly snapped up tickets to advanced showings of Saving General Yang, which took place on April 2 in sixty movie theaters across twelve cities. Tickets for these showtimes sold out within two hours. On the day of its official release, ticket sales for Saving General Yang quickly surpassed those for the two Hollywood films. At one movie theater in Beijing, more than half of the tickets for the 2 PM showing had already been sold by 10 AM.

Amid their enthusiasm, fans are quick to point out the one disappointment about Saving General Yang: the lack of available movie screenings. Because the film opened on Tomb Sweeping Day (清明節), many viewers took advantage of the holiday to make a trip to the cinema. However, they felt that there were not enough movie screenings, which meant audiences had to wait a long time until the next showing. As a result, many asked movie theaters to allot more space to showings of Saving General Yang.

Saving General Yang poster 2Netizens also expressed worries that the star-studded cast, which features idol celebrities like Wu Chun (吳尊) and Raymond Lam (林峯), meant that the movie would be exclusively geared toward fans of these idols. In response, Taiwanese actor Vic Chou (周渝民) said, “The popularity of each of us is a guarantee at the box office, but we hope that viewers will forget who they came to see, and that they will go into the movie theater to feel and experience without any sort of bias, thus merging into the world that we have created together.”

Fortunately, the actors’ impressive performances, the stunning battle scenes, and the touching family story won over many viewers. When they watched Saving General Yang, they forgot about the actors’ idol status. Rather, they remembered each actor for the role he or she had portrayed. Some viewers even said that they had nearly given up on domestic period films, but Saving General Yang brought new hope.

The movie also sparked heated debate about the plot, particularly the scene in which She Taijun, the wife of Yang Ye and the mother of the seven sons, visits the fortune teller Guiguzi to ask for advice. Guiguzi predicts, “Seven sons go, six return” (七子去六子回). The Yang family interprets this to mean that, out of the seven sons, one will die. As a result, Yang Dalang (Ekin Cheng 鄭伊健) insists on defending the valley and engaging the enemy all by himself, even unto death. In the end, however, it is revealed that Guiguzi’s prediction meant that only Yang Liulang, the sixth son, would return.

In response to this revelation, many viewers have said that the prediction was not elaborated on and that, had it been explained more clearly, the Yang family’s sacrifice could have been avoided. Particularly disconsolate viewers blamed Guiguzi for causing the deaths of the Yang family’s sons, and fans have even turned up at promotional events, weeping and crying that “the seven sons of the Yang family should not die.”

These passionate and emotional responses prove that Saving General Yang has touched many of its viewers. On Mtime.com, the movie’s ratings increased after its premiere, even reaching as high as 7.7, which is unheard of in recent years for a movie in this genre. The website also shows that many fans gave the film a five-star recommendation.

Reception from professional figures has been fairly optimistic as well. After an advanced showing in Zhengzhou, a group of movie theater managers gave Saving General Yang a positive evaluation; one general manager posted a recommendation on his Sina Weibo, commenting, “The seven Yang sons are handsome, cool, and wonderful, and Shao Bing (邵兵) gave his most complete and perfect performance since entering the film business.”

Other well-known figures in the entertainment industry have also shown their support for Saving General Yang through their Sina Weibo accounts. Director Wong Jing (王晶) wrote, “With the most effective storytelling method and exquisite filming, Ronny Yu’s skills have advanced again.”

Source: QQ.com 

This article is written by Joanna for JayneStars.com.

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  1. I watched this last night and enjoyed it thoroughly. Went into the theatre knowing full well everyone but Wu Chun’s character would die but as the brothers went to war, I find myself wishing that they didn’t need to die. The action scenes were good and although the plot was a little weak in my opinion, the themes were displayed clearly. It’s a very well done movie and shouldn’t be missed!

    Shao Bing also did a good job, I find him quite hilarious.

    1. Actually the 4th brother did not die in battle and the 5th brother became a monk. Unless they changed it in this movie version…

      1. Nah, they did not change. The 4th and the 5th fell off the cliff, into the water. We can assume they would survive.

      2. The story was slightly fictionalised. Everyone but the 6th son died.

      3. Please do a sequel !! 4th ,5th & 6th survived.

        Adam cheng deserved a golden horse and the villian did brilliantly

    2. ”Did’nt like it, out- dated story, nothing new to inspire only difference are the cast, think twice before spending on a ticket unless you like Ray or Dior posing or chokin”

      1. Have u watch the movie.? If not please shut up

  2. There are others who HAVE NOT watched this movie. Can you please put SPOILERS before spoiling it for the benefit of those who has not watched?

    1. This story has been adapted many many times so it is not anything new. Therefore, I do not see what the big deal is because I think many already know the story very well. Plus, not everyone minds spoilers if there are still any surprises left.

      1. Egad! You just spoiled the fact that there were more surprises!

      2. I think it is common courtesy to write Spoilers and if anyone chose to go on then they do so at their perils. I for once do not know their stories and the spoilers are not about the folk lore BUT the movie itself. Come on, is it that difficult to write


        And this is a new movie, not a 10 year old series like Sixth Sense where you can go ahead and spoil it.

      3. not everyone is as old as you HTS the younger generation like me have never watch the older adaptions. so please put spoilers next time ok?

      4. Sorry but I am not that old and there have been more recent adaptions that you can be young and still see. But it was a just a matter of whether you wanted to or not. There are also books about it if you want to read as well.

      5. Kinda have to agree with HeTieShou. I’m not that old either, but this story has been adapted umpteen times, and is so well known. They even id the femal version to death. Surely it cannot be much of a spoiler?

      6. Thanks Puff and also, who said that you had to be old to see any of the previous adaptions? Many of them are available to watch now so what does being old or young have to do with whether you have seen the older adaptions or not???

    2. ”I see no benefit to it all but income for the film maker, but rather spoling the previous versions of the Yang tv series.”

      1. Good point and I don’t see any point for this movie except to sell the popular cast. The Yang family story is pretty long so adapting it into a movie is not the best way to go.

    3. I don’t think HTS spoiled the movie but simply retold history.

      Example, in the movie Lincoln, I have not watched it yet but I can conclude they signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

      1. Thanks Pandamao and I have not even seen the movie yet so how can I provide spoilers?? This story has been adapted way too many times to count, so what more is there to talk about? Unless, they made up some things or rewrote the story or something.

  3. SGY is an epic movie, great story and cast!
    LF Love Fung!

  4. yea!!! super!!! for all the stars…of course…especially to LF…I wish I can see it 🙁 well, I wait til it come out DVD…

  5. I’m still waiting for my chance to watch this at theaters! I’ve heard from many moviegoers that the action scenes and the storyline are great and enjoyable. I also want to support Ray.

  6. what a huge promotional article. the movie was only banking on it’s glorious battle effects but has weak acting and storylines! raymond lam only choks as usual of raymond lam and ekin cheng is ekin cheng.

    shao bing is good and stands out though.

    1. dislike raymond lam and ekin cheng’s ‘acting’! even wu zun did a better job than them!

      1. So you have watch the movie or you can act better than him? Your statement notified you are Raymond’s hater.

      2. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, so I don’t see what the big deal is if some don’t like Raymond or whoever. Acting is subjective so opinions are bound to vary. I do not think Sel fi wu is a Raymond hater, he/she is just stating their opinion. She/He even said that they don’t like Ekin’s acting so I don’t think it is anything against Raymond only.

      3. I isnt a secret of who sel_fi_wu like to bash/criticize no matter wat the content is about. Luckily Bosco isnt in this one or you will see the harsher. Its her style, doesnt mean she really watched the movie (which I kinda doubt she did). Not a big deal.

    2. The movie critics dun seem to agree with you, poor you :P.

      1. Even what the movie critics are only an opinion, it’s not a fact or anything.

      2. meant to say what the movie critics “think”. Gosh, I need the edit button…

      3. Because our dearest Sel_fi_wu likes to make her opinions become fact that everyone else have to accept. And she also likes to use the pro ppl as reference. So its a must to mention that the pro ppl dun agree with her. Pretty done.

      4. Sel fi wu is a girl?? I thought she was a guy.

    3. Never heard of such reviews like this, maybe you’re the only one who feel this?

      Please stop insulting Ray every time his news come up. You don’t like him, it’s okay but there’s no use to keep on insulting him just for the sake of it.

      1. You know, Ray isn’t the only actor in this movie, I am sure he is not the only actor fans flock to see. So fail or succeed, why place it on Ray credit or discredit only?

      2. There are few haters namely sel fi wu and Ernesto.giving annoying statements.wander who are their idols?

      3. The world cannot all love Ray Lam. It’s a preference thing.

        Get over it.

      4. Get over a fact that in here, liking LF = crazy/hardcore fan and you are not allowed to open mouth unless you praise others over him. Ok, Im kidding :p.

        Just a fishy smelly war. The only bad thing is that he is still having praises from critics and accordingly, invitations and high price are waving hello to him. Its more irritatimg. Kidding again*.

  7. Guys.. This show is doing pretty badly in mainland. Go check their box office statistics. This article is pr from the company. http://www.58921.com/

  8. Don’t you guys notice that everyone is talking about the cast and not really anything else? I think that was the main purpose of this movie, to promote the cast and that’s pretty much it since what else is there to talk about in terms of the storyline??

  9. I want to watch this movie, but too bad not screening in Canada =(

  10. Just saw this movie.

    My reaction;

    1. Someone made notes from The Two Towers and 300.

    2. Looks epic but not at the epic scale of Return Of The King. It is Two Towers in essence.

    3. hated the maze like fort.

    4. For all the hoopla about everybody including and especially Raymond lam, Raymond was only the one next to the secondary. The main one was Wu Chun actually and I thought wow, Linda Chung in drag! But no one ever mentioned the main idol here, that is Adam Cheng. Adam Cheng’s 1 scene could out act everybody in this movie, EVERYBODY/

    5. Dubbing was terrible, even actors dubbing themselves, like Ekin who sounds bored. Raymond however did well in my opinion but too little.

    6. All sons had little personality, no time to develop on them. But I shall scream if I see another obligatory each son 1 shot whenever they fight, run, pose, whatever.

    7. Death scenes were done very well, very sad. BUT the story is amazingly underdevelop. I wonder why? Not enough time?

    8. Ekin is perfectly cast as eldest son, heroic, serious, etc and he is the lead by poster definition BUT if only his acting can match that look he has. And I don’t get why everyone is so eager to die in this movie. In the end rendered pointless because of what the father did. Was it worth it? I don’t think so.

    9. Love some original fighting scenes; like the fight in the fields, the last fight between 6th son and enemy where he used al his brother’s and his father’s weapon to fight the bad guy. I thought that was the best and more representative scene of this movie where not one son is volunteering to die but rather worked together as one albeit through weapons. That scene alone made this movie wonderful.

    10. And the the stupid ending stupify it all. That mother hugging the dead husband never once asked… “Where is eldest? Where is second? Where is third? Where is fourth? Where is fifth? Where is seventh? Where are my sons?!” and just touched the husband tenderly. Like to hell with my sons as long as I get my husband’s body back. Very cold.

    In summary, this could have been a great movie. I mean it looks good, the costumes look good (how come villain’s ear’s not pierced?, Most actors were good despite lack of development and personality and none of them look alike as brothers except for 6th and 7th,. Death scenes were heart wrenching although I hated the 300-ish meeting with the soothsayer scene and the whole father I am dead I am in your dreams then I argue with my alter ego dream like scene which takes away the harsh reality of the fact that his sons were facing imminent death just to rescue him alone, and female characters who were non existent and the worst casting of the mother. I thought she was Cheng Pei Pei and then I saw she wasn’t. Why not FIND Cheng Pei Pei? I will pay to see her sit on Adam’s lap! Although it is a bit borrowed from some big Hollywood movies, I appreciate the effort to make the movie look epic and cinematic. And I love the first throw bags into air and shoot with arrows and throw with fire and burn all enemy scene.

    But somehow, in the end the movie does feel 2D instead of 3D in terms of character. The story is flawed too. Yue Fei dying I understand but the sons and father dying didn’t make enough sense to justify tear fest. But it is in the end one of the best chinese movie of recent years because it looks like a movie.

    Ekin eventhough his eagerness to sacrifice himself is troubling. If he had known 7th have died, would he stop and think maybe that fortune teller dude needs to be trashed?

    Not sure which son, the one aka Legolas.

    The 6th and enemy man to man fight with his brothers and father’s weapons/.

    Was it 4th and 5th off the cliff? If yes, that one. Quite funny.

    The horses and they were real

    The women. You see them, but they have nothing much to do.

    The Emperor

    Did 5th and 6th die? My friend said in another version 5th became a monk, 6th married the enemy’s princess? Is it true? In fact my friend said 7 will go, 6th will return when actually 3 didn’t die, out of which 5th became a monk and so stopped being Yang and 4th married the enemy’s princess and so stopped being a Yang and only 6th came home. True?

    That chancellor? Minister? We all know he’s a villain but he is just there, nothing to do

    The posing scenes. Each has his own focus. And the top off scene. For some unknown reasons a son suddenly take his top off and fight the air. But a lot were like pose and pose and pose. Most poses came from the Legolas dude and dear 5th son (often close ups)

    For me, was Ray the 5th son? Because he can fight AND he is ready to die AND he died with a smile AND he is a doctor AND GOD DAMN IT, this is one of Ray’s less pretentious performance!

    Adam Cheng. The rest can just hang around him as posse as they are.

    The mother.

    Highly recommended but definitely not as great as some fans say it is. But it is better than a lot of other Chinese movies out there.

    1. P/S I notice different country different person at the front of the poster. In Malaysia Ekin is at the front. Taiwan? Probably Vic Zhou? I couldn’t recognise Zai Zai!

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