“Back to 1942” Clashes With “The Last Supper” at Box Office

Two of the most highly anticipated Chinese films, Director Feng Xiaogang’s (馮小剛) Back to 1942 <一九四二> and Lu Chuan’s (陸川) The Last Supper <王的盛宴>, will clash at the box office. Both films will release on November 29 in China. Will audiences prefer to watch Feng’s big-budget World War II epic about the worst famine in Chinese history or Lu’s retelling of the Chu-Han contention?

17 Years Spent to Prepare for “Back to 1942”

Back to 1942 is set in the heart of China during the depths of World War II, when Henan Province was devastated by the most tragic famine in modern Chinese history, resulting in the deaths of at least 3 million men, women and children. Although the primary cause of the famine was a severe drought, it was intensified by locusts, windstorms, earthquakes, an epidemic disease, and the corruption of the ruling government.

Adrien Brody plays an American journalist trying to make sense of both the devastating famine and the Japanese invasion. Along with Tim Robbins as the crusading priest, he comes to believe that maybe the two are more closely linked than it first seems. Apart from Brody and Robbins, Back to 1942 also features distinguished mainland artists, Xu Fan (徐帆), Zhang Guoli (張國立), Chen Daoming (陳道明), Zhang Mo (張默), Zhang Hanyu (張涵予), Li Xuejian (李雪健), Feng Yuanzheng (馮遠征), Fan Wei (范偉), Wang Ziwen (王子文), and Qian Li (李倩).

Filming began last October after 9 months of pre-production, and it was completed in March this year. An additional 7 months was spent on post-production. However, it took Director Feng Xiaogang 17 years and 3 attempts to finally bring the novel of the same name to the big screen. The total budget of the movie exceeds $ 200 million RMB. As the brainchild and the director of the movie, Feng said the release of the movie is akin to finally getting married after dating someone after 17 years, and he is grateful to everyone who was involved in the movie from its conception to its completion.

Producer Wang Lei (王中磊) said, “The completion of Back to 1942 is a demonstration of our perseverance. Had we made the movie on our first attempt, it may not have produced similar results. Everyone from the creative team to the production company has matured and learned from many past mistakes. I believe this is the perfect moment to show the results to the viewers.”

“The Last Supper” Ready for Box Office Challenge

Back to 1942 is not the only movie making its debut in the lucrative year-end box office. The Last Supper, is also set to release on November 29. It was originally scheduled to be released on July 5, 2012, but was delayed for a year-end release.

The plot is based on the story of two warring generals, Liu Bang (Liu Ye 劉燁) and Xiang Yu (Daniel Wu 吳彥祖), fighting for control of China at the end of the Qin Dynasty. The movie follows the events leading to the Feast at Hong Gate. One of the highlights of the power struggle, the Feast at Hong Gate was the banquet that spelled the end of Liu Bang. During the banquet hosted by Xiang, Liu barely escapes from assassination, and the rest is history.

The Feast of Hong Gate has been made into movies more than once. However according to the director, The Last Supper was based entirely on newly discovered historic facts and it is the most accurate depiction to-date.

Directed and written by Lu Chuan, The Last Supper also features Chang Chen (張震), Li Qishan (李旗山), Lu Yulai (吕玉来), Qin Lan (秦岚), and Sha Yi (沙溢).

Releasing on the same day, it is hard for audiences to try to pick their favorite between Back to 1942 and The Last Supper. At the end, each film has different plots, different genres, and they are set in different eras, so they cannot be compared.

“Back to 1942” Trailer

[vsw id=”RSwjJ9nAwLI” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]

“The Last Supper” Trailer

[vsw id=”-WYVUORGq6k” source=”youtube” width=”425″ height=”344″ autoplay=”no”]

Sources: Nextmovie.com, Baidu.com

This article is written by Lance for JayneStars.com.
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  1. Note to Daniel Wu: bugging out your eyes and clenching your face does not equal acting. Why is he so popular?!?

    1. Because he’s good looking, an attribute shared by 50% of today’s crappy actors.

      1. Sure, but he’s been getting some really plum roles lately. I mean, the guy can’t even read Chinese characters, and he’s playing Xiang Yu. That kills me.

      2. Really? Not even after 10 years?
        Goddamnit why was born with this crummy-ass face?
        Could be rolling in tail and a pile of cash right now

      3. Wu is sexy

        eye candy for the females.
        It’s a double standard when actresses are criticized if they are not pretty enough.

  2. Adrien Brody is in Back to 1942? I guess have another film to put on my to-watch list.

  3. Based on the trailers, Back to 1942 seems to be more interesting. But the fact tht they have both english and chinese actors in it just puts it off for me.

  4. China has been heavily promoting war movies lately and i don’t feel comfy with that. I’m a Chinese and by showing these movies, do I have to hate Japanese more by reminding us how our past enemy treated us? Let bygones be bygones. Especially now when the tension btw China and Japan. Stop this nonsense, China.

    1. This has been the case for the past decade or so in the drama world. Why do people assume that everything in China is state-mandated? Do you see anyone telling Koreans to get over Japanese occupation of the peninsula? It’s economics – if people want to see war thrillers, especially the people who actually lived through Japanese brutality, that’s what will be made. If not, you can expect to see more diversity in the future.

      Forgiveness is important, but so is memory.

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