Stephen Chow’s “Journey to the West” Grosses 640 Million RMB

Stephen Chow’s (周星馳) fantasy epic Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons <西遊·降魔篇> has brought life (and money) back to Huayi Brothers, saving it from its decline after the company suffered a large stump on its stock market value last year.

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, directed by Stephen Chow and starring Shu Qi (舒淇), is a loose adaptation of the classic Chinese novel, Journey to the West. Largely regarded as the prequel to Stephen’s 1994 film, A Chinese Odyssey <大話西遊>, Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons tells the story of the monk, Tripitaka (Wen Zhang 文章), who is entrusted by Guanyin to retrieve the Buddhist sutras in India.

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons grossed a phenomenal 640 million RMB since its opening day on February 10. The comedic flick set three single-day records in a row, being the first film to gross over 122 million RMB in a single day. On February 14 alone, the film grossed over 122 million RMB, surpassing the 112 million RMB record set by Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

Due to the lower-than-expected box office performance of Feng Xiaogang’s (冯小刚) Back to 1942 <一九四二> last year, Huayi Brothers suffered a drop in stock market shares. On November 30, 2012, one day after the underwhelming premiere of Back to 1942, Huayi Brothers’ shares dropped 10 percent. The company’s shares dropped another 6 percent a week later. Want China Times reported that the company’s market value dropped 1.3 billion RMB in two days.

The release of Journey to the West two months later, however, has brought up Huayi Brothers’ stock by 25 percent.

Journey to the West’s lifetime gross in mainland China is expected to exceed 1.3 billion RMB.


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. Huaiyi? Not Fox International and a hosts of foreign investors? Anyway deservedly so! I can still remember some vivid scenes. Yes the story is neither here nor there but as a director he created an imagery that is so powerful until now I can’t stop thinking about many many scenes. One of the best HK films and one of the rare ones for the fantasy genre.

    1. Funn,
      Was “Journey to the West” more slapstick as suggested by some press reviews? Or genuinely funny?

      The above image for Pigsy is quite stark.

      1. Slapstick which can be genuinely funny. A lot of HK films are slapstick but it is minimal slapstick and witty slapstick as opposed to stupid and waste of time slapstick. The graphics are mostly fantastic and serves the story well. That scene above is very funny but before that the intro of a very oiled up handsome pig was to me the most striking image of this movie. It is genuinely funny and yet at times genuinely terrifying since we are talking about demons here. I may not agree with the change of story but I love his reimagining of the 3 disciples as more than just simplistic playful lusty demons but scary dangerous demons. It is apt reimagining.

        If hk fans can love stupid films like I Love HK or the likes, I don’t see why they can’t like this JTTW unless of course now everyone loves to hate Stephen Chow but not many has the grace to admit Stephen can be a visionary in some ways. He is a talented director, has great eye for new talent and he knows when and when not to use CGI in a movie than can be cheapened by cheap CGI. In other words, this may not be the best JTTW story told nor a great adaptation but as a movie itself it is entertaining in its own right. So screw the critics although I read generally very favourable reviews of this movie by critics.

      2. Funn,
        Thanks for your take on the movie. I came across a review from HK’s Ming Pao and the HK reception seems lukewarm. Perhaps the HK audience prefers more outrageous comedies.

  2. i disagree completely. As one of his biggest die hard fans back when he was “funny”, I think this movie is an utter disappointment. Shaolin Soccer was truly his last movie, sadly. Not because it did well world wide, but because he still had his entourage. Stephen is not a good director, he is a good actor. There is a major difference between the two. For his old movies, I am still able to recite lines, because they were good. Kung Fu Hustle, CJ7, and this is Bad. Even Shaolin Soccer and King of Comedy aren’t that good to be honest, but at least we have the old gang in them. This Journey to the West does not even compare to his old duology on the journey to the west. They had depth and were funny because there were true actors in them. This movie is just terrible. I am so disappointed that I am no longer his fan and no longer interested in movies yet to come out of the film industry. Only true used to be die hard fans who grew up watching him will understand.

    1. Then I don’t understand. I grew up watching him from nobody to a great somebody. I consider his best movie to be kung fu hustle but his deepest was King of comedy. CJ7 was slammed but some but to me CJ7 was touching and beautifully filmed. Maybe you like him at his slapstick self and unable to understand why he is taking a back role instead of front role but I appreciate his effort to upgrade himself in anyway. Most HK movies are not worthy of being remembered and JTTW is one of those you either love or hate, in any aspect but you can’t deny, he tries to remain true to himself by daring to venture out and be different. The audience in the cinema I watched with laughed at the silly antics and shriek with terror at some of the more scarier scenes. And some of them isn’t even Chinese.

      Like i said don’t watch this as JTTW.

      I do however appreciate his daringness in showing the ugly side of the demons in JTTW. That in itself is refreshing.

      And he is a great actor by the way. But I feel he is becoming a better director. He needs more practice. I can see his passion in this subject matter even if the writing is lacking. But passions counts a lot. He clearly loves JTTW and for his I suppose fully 1st movie on his own, he needed something familiar to fall back on so we see his usual slapstick brand of humour that is so Stephen even if he is not in front of the camera. You can feel his presence.

      As his die hard fan who has read sh*t about his private life and seen him through even sh*ttier movies many years ago, I am happy at him evolving. He writes his own standard now, he has to meet his own standard. No one compares Stephen Chow to someone else, but he is often compared to himself. That in itself is such a momentous achievement.

      For that I applaud this movie. I was entertained and the scenes stick.

  3. Understand in Hong Kong 3D ticket more expensive than others 2D movie. Wonder China also 3D?

    1. Actually everywhere 3D is more expensive than 2D tickets. And now even 2D tickets got normal and 2D.

  4. “Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons grossed a phenomenal 640 million RMB since its opening day on February 10. The comedic flick set three single-day records in a row, being the first film to gross over 1.2 billion RMB in a single day. On February 14 alone, the film grossed over 1.22 billion RMB, surpassing the 1.12 billion RMB record set by Transformers: Dark of the Moon.”

    wait, this doesn’t make sense. so it grossed a total of 640M since opening day, then it said it gross over 1.22 on 2/14.

    Did it meant it grossed 640M on opening day, not since?

    1. airtranbay,

      The figures quoted should have been Journey to the West grossing 122 million in a day, surpassing Transformers’ earlier record of 112 million RMB. Article has been revised.

  5. I’m surprised at how frightening both the monkey and pig masks look.

  6. Anyone here knows where i can watch this show in Cantonese? or there isn’t any?

    1. In Malaysia the version is Cantonese. I am actually looking for the Mandarin version!

  7. Watched this movie last night… and I’m 100% behind Funn on this one. Fantastic movie. Had my attention from start to finish. The romance story was great, and action superb, and the humour? Typical Stephen Chow. The characters are so much larger than life that they make a lasting impression. Truly great cinematography. If the HK audiences can’t appreciate this film, but can appreciate utter nonsense like the “I Love HK” series, then I weep for what has become of the HK cinemagoer.

    I also agree with Funn that his best movie was Kung Fu Hustle – without a doubt in my mind. Shaolin Soccer was pretty damn good as well, but nothing touches KFH. JTTW comes close though.

    It’s one of those movies that you can watch several times over the years.

  8. Hey guys, i just watched the movie and i do agree that in present day context, this is an above-average movie, but this just doesnt do the original film justice despite the many effects used. I am an avid fan of Chow and supports most/ if not all of his films from the start of his career. I would still support him as a Director, though i must say that his directing skills as compared to the other directors that made the old STEPHEN CHOW shows, lacks by a landslide. (yes, in the sense of humour too.) People that want to see his old sense of chow back, sorry but its simply not possible if he continues heading towards this avenue in directing.

    To people debating, watch the old JTTW: Pandora’s Box and the sequel JTTW: Cinderella’s Story, and then this.

    Its pretty obvious, the old series wins, by a landslide.

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