CHINA'S first space age blockbuster is on a trajectory to become the country's highest-grossing movie ever and is being held up as an evidence that big-budget home-grown films can now hold their own with Hollywood on pure spectacle.

*The Wondering Earth* has made more than 3.9 billion yuan [$576 million] in domestic box office as of Tuesday morning, putting it on course to eclipse the 5.7 billion yuan earned in 2017 by current champion *Wolf Warrior* 2.

Based on a novel by Chinese science fiction writer  Liu Cizin, the film tells the story - through the eyes of Chinese protagonists- of a project to move the earth away from a dying sun using giant fusion powered engines.

Reported made with $50 million budget, the movie draws on pride in China's growing space programme and is packed with advanced  special effects.

Director Guo Fan said three-quarters of the more than 2,000 special effects shots were created by Chinese staff. 

Noted film commentator Wang Hailin told a recent movie seminar that  The Wandering earth  has also made $3.8 million in North America in the  11 days since release, the highest for a Chinese film in nearly five years, the film's official social media account said on Sunday.

Liu, the Hugo Award-winning author of the story, said in an interview with state television that  China lacks good original science fiction, but that the strong ''sense of future''  in the rapidly modernising country bodes well for the genre.

Director Guo concluded that Chinese sci-fi  films still have a long way to go to keep the pace with Hollywood high standards, but he was hopeful.

''Science fiction is the barometer of a nation'' .... if this nation wants to embrace the world and dream of the future, then the journey of Chinese sci-fi will be an ocean of stars and  [have]  a broad future,'' he told state television. [AFP]


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