CBN Friday Special丨From “Wandering Earth” to “Moon Man”: Sci-fi ignites national space craze

2022年08月19日 20:52   21世纪经济报道 21财经APP   李莹亮,实习生曾丽镔

S: Hi. Welcome to CBN Friday Special. I am Stephanie Li.

J: Hi, I am Jenny. Hey Stephanie, have you watched the new sci-fi movie that everyone is talking about? 

S: You mean Moon Man? I think it’s a nice, heartwarming sci-fi comedy, which is produced by the hit-making comedy troop Mahua FunAge. Moon Man tells a story about a Chinese astronaut on the Moon who comes to believe he’s the last human in the universe after witnessing an asteroid collides with the Earth. But in reality, many survivors on the Earth, including his dream girl (Ma Li), are watching his every move via a live-stream. As another Chinese sci-fi movie, the fictional plot and the scenes were so attractive that the movie has spectacularly revived China’s box office. As of August 14, its box office has hit 24 billion, leading the 2022 summer box office.

J: The popularity is fuelled by the rise and development of China’s aerospace industry which keeps stimulating people’s growing yearning for exploring the mystic universe and the vastness of the starry sky. In recent years, the great success of China’s aerospace industry, such as the launching of manned spaceships, the Chang’e lunar exploration project, Zhu Rong Mars exploration, and the recent launch of the Wentian module set off a national space craze. 

S: Since the 1990s, the sci-fi craze has gradually sprung up in Chinese literary circles, and Chinese sci-fi writers represented by Liu Cixin have come to the fore. Liu, the first Chinese winner to win the Hugo Award by The Three-Body Problem in 2015, first published two works Whale Song and Micro end in Sci-fi World in 1999, and published the short story Earth Fire and Wandering Earth in 2000, in which The Wandering Earth won the special prize in China Sci-fi Galaxy Award. 

In 2019, The Wandering Earth was adapted and put on the big screen, which instantly became a national sensation as China's first space-based sci-fi blockbuster. The Wandering Earth stood out among the 2019 Lunar New Year's films, winning both the box office and reputation and regarded by industry insiders as a milestone in the development of China's sci-fi industry. In recent years, China has demonstrated its aerospace ambitions and pursued the United States in space exploration. However, sci-fi films have long been a blank in the Chinese film industry. But The Wandering Earth opened the dawning of a new era in domestic sci-fi films, breaking the monopoly by Hollywood, as Chinese filmmakers leap into sci-fi with growing budgets and confidence to tackle the genre.

J: When The Wandering Earth finally grossed as much as 4.6 billion yuan at the box office, the year of 2019 has been marked as the very first year of Chinese sci-fi movies. In 2019, Chinese sci-fi films earned more than 7.1 billion yuan ($1.09 billion) in the Chinese mainland.

In 2022, domestic sci-fi films ushered in a golden explosion. Three domestic sci-fi films, Mozart in Outer Space, Moon Man, and War of Tomorrow have been released one after another. The three films are expected to enhance the industry’s confidence in sci-fi films, but also have important inspiration for the future creation of the genre. They also represent an epoch-making cultural phenomenon. The charm of sci-fi lies in jumping out of the usual triviality, looking up at the stars, and using a broader perspective to see the position and existence of human beings in the universe.

S: Apart from the entertainment industry, space-themed tourism has also been brought to the public and started to gain more tractions in recent years. Take the satellite-launch-site Wenchang for example. The small and historic city in China’s southernmost island province is previously famous for a very popular chicken dish in China, which is believed to be originated during the Ming Dynasty and inspired the “Hainanese Chicken Rice” in Singapore and Malaysia. 

But now Wenchang has re-invented itself into a "space city". The southern Chinese city of Wenchang was picked as a satellite launch site due to the region's low latitude. Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site is the fourth one of the country's launch sites and the only one by the seaside. 

J: Each time a rocket is set to be launched, tourists flock to the town. Regarded as one of the best open view sites, the beach of Qishui Bay in Longlou, a coastal town of Wenchang City, attracted tens of thousands of tourists from all over the country.  

The small town stepped into the spotlight again as China successfully launched its Wentian Module last month. More than 40 hotels and guesthouses across the town were fully booked before the launch. In hotels, customers can have the best view of rocket launches and prices could double during launch periods. The rocket launch has greatly promoted the small town's tourism, making the entire hospitality industry and restaurants into tourist hot spots.

S: Space fans in the country are so fascinated by the vastness of the universe that they wish they could travel with spaceships after seeing the launch. In 2021, the Shanghai Planetarium opened its doors to the public, giving space enthusiasts a chance to quench their thirst. Covering 38,000 square meters, it's believed to be the largest of its kind in the world. The museum has three thematic exhibition areas “Home”, “Universe” and “Journey”, as well as the special exhibition areas of “China asks the sky”, “Curiosity planet” and“Heading to Mars”. 

There is a precise model of China's Tianhe core module. Three taikonauts are now working on the Tianhe core module in space, but visitors can come and take a closer look at how the taikonauts eat, sleep, grow plants and do all kinds of experiments in space. And visitor can even put VR goggles to roam on the Moon. Over the past year, the Shanghai Planetarium has received a total of 730,000 visitors, becoming an “internet celebrity” science museum in Shanghai, widely loved by the public. 

J: Wow, that sounds amazing! As the saying goes, "our journey is to be the sea of stars." With space-themed tourism becoming a new name card, Wenchang and other cities with space resources can further optimize infrastructure and supporting services to help create new impetus for local economic growth. The development of the space-themed tourism also needs to further highlight cultural connotations to incorporate itself with Chinese elements and traditional Chinese virtues, just like the success of The Wandering Earth

China used to be a latecomer to space exploration, but it’s about to change. The remarkable space achievements in recent year have boosted huge economic potential in space-themed cultural and tourism industry, and made more and more Chinese people ever-prouder to call ourselves space-lovers. And that’s all for today. See you next time. 




从上世纪90年代开始,中国文学界逐渐兴起科幻热,以刘慈欣为代表的中国科幻作家们展露头角。1999年6月,刘慈欣在《科幻世界》首次发表两篇作品《鲸歌》和《微观尽头》, 2000年发表短篇小说《地火》《流浪地球》,凭借《流浪地球》获得中国科幻银河奖特等奖。 2019年,根据中国科幻小说改编的电影流浪地球、上海堡垒等陆续上映。流浪地球最终斩获高达46亿票房的同时,被视为是中国科幻元年的领航之作。继《流浪地球》之后,2022年,电影行业的国产科幻片迎来了黄金爆发期。《外太空的莫扎特》《独行月球》《明日战记》三部国产科幻电影先后上映,尤其是《独行月球》成为现象级作品。三部影片有望增强业内对科幻片的信心,也对未来的科幻片创作有重要启发。




Executive Editor: Sonia YU

Editor: LI Yanxia

Host: Stephanie LI

Writer: Stephanie LI, ZENG Libin

Sound Editor: ZENG Libin

Graphic Designer: ZHENG Wenjing, LIAO Yuanni

Produced by 21st Century Business Herald Dept. of Overseas News.

Presented by SFC

编委:  于晓娜






21世纪经济报道海外部 制作

南方财经全媒体集团  出品