Where is the Next Hit of Domestic Animation?

Instead of commenting on what kind of animation can sell well, it is better to study the creation of animations. Because the hits conform to certain rules while the failed ones appear in various forms.

The 2018 domestic animation market ended, and 2019’s hit –  “White Snake” is being screened. At the time of the new things replacing old ones, it is time to sum up and have new expectations.

The first hit in the summer of 2015 – “Monkey King: Hero is Back” had stimulated the ambitions to make hits in the industry, which came across failures. In the past three years, the hits seemed to have disappeared, with the box office dropping from Monkey King: Hero is Back‘s 1 billion, to Big Fish & Begonia’s 500 million to The Wind Guardians’ 100 million.

Why is it difficult to make hits? Contrary to the negative arguments, Cao Xiaohui, deputy dean of the China Animation Academy of Beijing Film Academy, said: “There being no hits demonstrate our overall level has started to rise.”

“If there is only one hit every year, it means that other films have low quality. In 2008, four films earned over 100 million. If you add up the box office of  “Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink”, “New Happy Dad and Son 3: Adventure in Russia”, “The Wind Guardians“, “Yugo&Lala IV”, how much is it in all? 10 billion. It has been distributed. Before, a movie earned 1 billion. Now, if there are 10 movies dividing 1 billion. There are no hits, yet the overall quality is improving. I believe slowly there will be hits.” he said.

In fact, the progress of 2018 domestic animation market is obvious. The growth rate of the Chinese films’ box office is 9% for the whole year while the domestic animation growth rate is nearly 24.5%.

In addition to hits, we may talk about other things about the 2018 domestic animated films. Only if the family animation is no longer simply defined as “low age – oriented”, the lack of “hits” becomes common, when the creators no longer insist on making family animations, the public opinion and the audience no longer praise or criticize films excessively, and we view domestic animations with a tolerant attitude, will the changes come slowly.

Animations for Young Audiences Are Still Just Needed in the Market

Looking at the TOP10 of the 2018 domestic animated movie box office list, the “low-young animation” that dominates the mainland market for a long time is still the main force, and the adults only have two films, “Wind Mantra” and “Yesterday Blue Sky”. Behind the results of seemingly not “bright eyes”, Zhu Yuqing, the founder of Ju Yinghui and editor-in-chief of China Animation Film Development Report (2018), revealed such a set of data:

In 2018, the total box office of animated films was 4.105 billion yuan, down about 13% from 2017. The main reason is that the performance of imported animation is weak. The annual harvest was 2.48 billion yuan, down by nearly 27.3% year-on-year. The opposite is the “rise” of domestic animation. The total box office of the year was 1.622 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of nearly 24.5%. In 2018, the box office of Chinese movies exceeded 60 billion, with an overall increase of 9%.

According to the statistics of the “China Animation Film Development Report” edited by Zhu Yuqing, the number of domestically produced animations in the past years was around two, one of which was “Bears Haunted.” In 2018, there were four broken billions.

Boonie Bears: The Big Shrink

And the more prominent feature of domestic animation in 2018 is that the series of animations have achieved better results than in previous years. For example, the 2015 Submarine Total Mobilization 5 box office was 46.44 million, while the 2018 Submarine Total Mobilization 6 rose to 72.68 million. “The Adventures of the Mysterious World” was the first box office of 21 million, and the fourth part of the series broke through 100 million yuan.

Zhu Yuqing opposes the division of animated films into “lower children” and “non-lower children”. He even advocates the division of “parent-child” and “non-parental”. The video of the parent-child group is “just needed”, and the so-called “low-child” of adults is just “normal” in the world of children. Song Lei, director of the Development and Research Department of the China Animation Group, bluntly said: “You can’t say that the parent-child animation is still the main force, because it is always the main force.”

Lack of Hit Works Becomes the Norm

Monkey King: Hero Is Back

Since the overall growth rate of 2018 domestic animation is obvious, why do many people still think it is “weak”? The lack of “explosive money” like Monkey King: Hero Is Back and “The Big Fish” is one of the reasons.

In the summer of 2015, the first black horse “The Return of the Journey to the West” was nearly 1 billion in the box office performance, which made many industry people have the illusion that “I can also sell the explosion”. Everyone wants to copy the grand scene of “The Return of the Great Saint” .

But the quality of their own is not too hard, coupled with the slowdown of the economic trend in 2016, the retreat of the ticket to fill the tide, and other reasons, the situation of domestic animation is affected by the general trend, it seems that it was also returned to the original shape overnight. At that time, the score of 565 million in the “Big Fish Sea Bream” was frustrating, and I was shocked by the “when will the second “Grand St. Return” come again?”

Da Hu Fa

The more serious facts of 2017 are in front of us. As the most topical topic of domestic animation in the past, the box office of “Da Dafa” failed to break 100 million (86.87 million), and the top prize is “The Magical Space of Bears” (521 million) .

The Wind Guardians

In the top ten domestically produced animations in 2018, adults only made the “Wind Mantra” (111 million) and “Ying Qing Qing” (83.16 million) an animation success.

The reason for the “explosion” that was eagerly awaited has dropped from 1 billion to 500 million to the box office of 100 million. What is the reason? Guan Zhongfu, an animation research scholar, said: “We have not gone any further since the return of the Great Saint.” Cao Xiaohui, deputy dean of the China Animation Academy of the Beijing Film Academy, said more directly: “If you only know where there are stones and where Pit, but if you don’t figure out which place is a flat road, you will continue to fall.”

Big Fish & Begonia

Why There Are Rare Hit Works?

Zhu Yuqing said: “If it is a non-parental animated film, you must first make it clear that you are competing with the “venom” and “Hornet”. Can your idea and creation meet the requirements of this crowd? Yes, many viewers now have an aesthetic level that is even more than that of practitioners.”

Guan Zhongfu said that in Hollywood, animated films are distributed evenly from “explosive models”, “selling films” to “regular”, then to “60 points movies” and “failed films”. “It would not be like China, directly from the 600 million in the first “Bear Infest” to 100 million in the second place, there is no transition in the middle”, and this reflects precisely the immaturity of the market and the audience.

From the market point of view, the so-called “explosive models” have gathered a lot of conditions and occasional factors, such as “The Return of the Great Saints.” From the audience level, everyone did not form the habit of watching domestically produced animated films, and behind this is – there are not enough high-quality animations to let the audience enter the theater to form this habit.

The Lion King

Guan Zhongfu believes that the first positioning of an animated film should be “movie”, and animation is just its expression. “For a simple example, there are “Bumblebee” and “Fantasy Forest” on the market. Next year’s live version of “Lion King” will be released. It may be difficult to distinguish strictly what is an animated cartoon and what is a special effect. The film, what is a real film, so the ‘movie’ attribute will be more prominent.”

Whether in the United States or Japan, animated films and live-action movies are all in the same league and even in court. It is well known that in Japan, animated films are more popular. Zhu Yuqing believes that animated films are somewhat closer to the essence of the film, that is, “the presentation of imagination.”

He talked about the 1.2 billion “dream-seeking travels” in the Mainland: “China has many rural areas. In the houses where the elderly live, many of them are placed with cards and photos. We are no strangers to the yin-yang topic, but there is no A movie can describe this emotion in a particularly profound way. People are the most difficult to present stories to do with animated movies. We think that real-life movies are too difficult, so we do animations. We are all too lazy now, not thinking about creativity, I want to take it over.”


According to Song Lei, China’s animated film market is a case-based market. Everyone will often see what kind of case is successful and continue to invest in such works. “Now every year, several films are invested in two or three million, and the box office earns one or two million yuan.” For example, in 2018, “The Westward Journey” and “Little Goku” are based on the simulation of the Journey to the West.

“There is no explosion. It shows that our level has started to rise overall.” Cao Xiaohui is more optimistic.

“If there is only one explosion every year, it means that other films are very poor. There are four over 100 million in 2018, if you put “Bear Infested”, “New Big Head”, “Wind Mantra”, “Mystery World Adventures 4″ at the box office How much is it together? 10 billion, the proof has been spread. Originally, a movie took 1 billion. Now, for example, there are 10 movies divided into 1 billion. There is no explosion, but the overall quality is coming up. I believe that it is slow. Slow will have an explosion.”

Cao Xiaohui said: “We often say that the spiral development of things is almost the same. Some companies find that they don’t make money, they will give up and do nothing else. Chinese animation is now more than 30 abnormal every year because everyone wants to make it easy. Money, when you look at other people, you want to be able to explode yourself. Who are you? Stronger ability? To a large extent, rely on Mongolia. I think Chinese animated films have ten full-years each year, one per month, each earning. It is the so-called virtuous circle.”

Is it Good no longer Making Family Movies? 


In the summer of 2018, there was a movie called Foodiverse, which was invested in 10 million, and the box office only received 4.85 million. Director Chen Liaoyu was a teacher at the Animation School of the Beijing Film Academy, when the college organized a seminar for him.

“Chen Liaoyu said that he spent tens of millions to buy a lesson. This lesson is similar to going to the hospital to have children. At a critical juncture, the doctor asked the Bao Daren or the child? He said that I used to insist that adults and children have to be, now I understand, in At this time, it should be very clear to ensure that the child, that is, when you can’t win the adult audience, you must keep the child. The children like it very well, this is not shameful.” Cao Xiaohui revealed.

Crystal Sky Of Yesterday

Zhu Yuqing believes that the great progress of domestic animation in recent years is no longer blindly pursuing “family happiness.”

“Wind Mantra” and “Ying Qing Qing” are two non-parental animations that can’t be circumvented in 2018. “Wind Mantra” is based on “Xia Yu”, which is a series broadcast on CCTV. The film belongs to the parent-child direction. But later, because “Painting the Rivers and Lakes” is very hot, they abandoned the parent-child group in order to get close to the style of “painting the rivers and lakes”. From creation to production team, there is a very tangled between the parent and the child. Oh, and “Yesterday” is very free, and I didn’t consider the parent-child crowd at the beginning.”

Cats and Peachtopia

Both want to take care of the parent-child group, but also want to take into account the adult audience, there are people in the industry to tease, it is the pain of chasing animation.

“The beginning of chasing light is to eat all the young and old, “Little Door God”, “Atang Adventure”, “Cat and Peach Blossom Source”, three animation box office from 70 million, 30 million all the way down to 20 million. Then to “White Snake: Origin “I think that chasing light is a life of my own, it is no longer considering the parent-child crowd.” Zhu Yuqing said.

As of press time, the fourth part of the follow-up is also the first adult to the animation “White Snake: Origin” box office has reached 170 million.

White Snake

Zhu Yuqing said: “The industry has used countless failures to prove that domestic animation can’t be eaten by young and old, and it took several years to chase the light to repeat this failure. The reason lies in the foundation of China’s entire film industry and Hollywood. Still a far cry.”

For example, “Kung Fu Panda”, which is eaten by young and old, is a production fee of 100 million US dollars and a declaration fee of 150 million US dollars. At that time, it was converted into RMB 2 billion. In China, the most expensive animation company is chasing light, and its “Small Door God” investment of seven or eight million is top.

“A particularly obvious improvement in domestic animated films in 2018 is that the entire creative world wants to understand that it is impossible to get old and young, so the differentiation is becoming more and more obvious. Like “Bear Infest” is the crowd that deeply cultivates it, “Mystery World” also People who never want to fall in love will come to see. The series can best explain the problem, otherwise why can you shoot the sixth and seventh? The cost of the production of general parent-child animation is one or two million, there is no need to spend 100 million. Do; if the “Wind Mantra” spends 10 million, the target group does not recognize it. The creator can thoroughly understand the target audience, and you have already achieved the top level.”

Zhu Yuqing said: “I am very afraid to see such a director – the audience must buy my account, and the quality of the audience is not good. If we think about it, this work must have failed.”

The Significance of the Film Have a Nice Day

Have a Nice Day

There are more new types of 2018 domestic animations, such as “Great World”, which has won international reputation, although it only got 2.62 million yuan in the mainland.

However, Zhu Yuqing raised the point that if you want to get market recognition, you should be wary of “movies that cannot be classified.”

“For example, when updating the movie type on Time Online, you can choose ‘love’, ‘adventure’, ‘action’, but there is a type of movie, you can only choose ‘drama’, and I think that all the dramas are not The law is classified as the creator and operation team that is most familiar with the film, and there is no selling point. How can the audience know where it looks good?”

Have a Nice Day

Cao Xiaohui thinks: “Let it develop. If there is a problem, it will be self-defeating. Such a film may have been considered to be problematic in the past. Now it can be tried. This is somewhat unexpected, but it also shows the market. Tolerance, creators can try, as to whether there is a box office, unpopular, let the market law work.”

“I don’t think that “Big World” is a direction of adult animation, but we should not always use an attitude to evaluate domestic animation is not good enough, not satisfactory enough, because it is not correct to ignore teenagers with a larger base. When one day, everyone can calmly look at the problem, not to go to the swarm, not to kill, this is more conducive to development.”

Just like many times, domestic animation has been entangled. Is it more modern or more national? “This incident is not contradictory in itself. Some people say that when we study the United States and learn from Japan, we are deviating from nationalization, or vice versa, we must engage in nationalization.”

Crystal Sky Of Yesterday

Guan Zhongfu believes that the Big World can be viewed from another angle: Can the reality theme borrow more animations? “Ying Qing Qing” is also an idea. Starting from Zhao Wei’s “To Youth”, domestic youth films have been going downhill. Youth films are more and more impressed by the audience. If you use animation to restore the scenes and emotions in memory?”

Studying Creation is Always Fundamental

White Snake

Although there are a series of problems to be solved in the domestic animated film industry, no matter whether it is “explosive models”, “the return of the great saint”, “the big fish sea otter”, the “bears infested”, or the “wind curse”, “white snake” : Origins, in fact, all convey hope and confidence to the industry and the market.

The production cycle of an animated film takes about three to four years, so Wang Changtian, president of Light, and Yi Qiao, CEO of Cailan House, have thrown out the assertion that four years after the return of the Great Saint, 2019 will be an important part of animated films. year. Yi Qiao also said: “The next three years will definitely usher in the outbreak of domestic animated films, and there will be 2 billion-level animated films.”

Guanzhong Afu talked about a “very bad” topic: it is now a domestic adult animation “the darkest moment before dawn.” “Everyone thinks that a critical point is needed to break through, but I don’t know if it is still this year or next year, but it still takes a few years, but I feel that it is very close to that place.” Although it is not the best time of Guoman, it is indeed the best. The timing.

Cao Xiaohui believes that Chinese animation surpasses the United States in quality and surpasses Japan in the depth of the story. I am afraid it will take a long time. Instead of commenting on what kind of animation can sell, it is better to study the creation. Because the explosions must conform to certain rules, only the wrong things have their own appearance.


“How many people have studied the number of punch lines in Zootopia? Is it half a minute or a minute? How many eggs are there? In the performance of Fox Nick’s wisdom and its control over everything in the world, Where are they reflected? It crosses the road with the rabbit and argues that some people are not paying attention. A large group of elks come across the road. It stands behind the porcupine. There is a super shot, and the elk is scattered next to the porcupine. Open, the rabbit was washed away. Fully showed that the fox is a social oil. When the rabbit is too hurried to hit the counter, the fox squints and looks at the side, indicating that it has control over everything. , is a very slippery good person.”

“There is a model in the traditional story of China. A hapless person encounters a fairy or a monster. He was rescued first. When the last fairy or monster was killed, it was the unlucky one to save people. “The Immortals match”, “The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl” “So, “White Snake” is like this. This is actually not right in concept. The male is superior to the female, and in the end, the man is saved. How should the creator reflect this? Why is there no girl in the Chinese animation to be the protagonist? There are a lot of works in Hayao Miyazaki’s works. The only female hero in China, Mulan, is also made by Americans. What we need to study is that there is no new meaning in animated films.”

In the future, the following domestic animations can be expected:

nézhā Descending to the World

Sequel of White Snake

Cribug 4

Sequal of the Wind Guardian

The Monkey King Havoc in Heaven

The Deep Ocean

Journey to the West

Big Fish & Begonia 2 

Jiang Ziya



Author: Wang Xiaoyang



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