|Zhou Dongyu in Animal World. [Mtime]|
As one of the most hotly anticipated blockbusters of the summer, Han Yan's Animal World has managed to top China's box office charts on its opening day.
With a high-profile cast including pop idol Li Yifeng, actress Zhou Dongyu and Hollywood star Michael Douglas, the movie hit local theaters — including more than 500 IMAX cinemas — on June 29.
The movie raked in nearly 70 million yuan ($10.6 million) on Friday and is estimated to gross at least 500 million yuan, according to Chinese film database Maoyan.
Adapted from Japanese artist Nobuyuki Fukumoto’s manga series Ultimate Survivor Kaiji, the Chinese movie recounts the story of young man who finds himself heavily in debt, and is forced to attend a mysterious gambling party on a ship.
Directed by Han, 35, who shot to fame from Go Away Mr Tumor, a comedy which was selected to represent China to bid for best foreign language film at the 88th Academy Awards in 2015.
During the production, Han used a smartphone to shoot "sets" built out of Lego bricks to make the fantasy elements more visible to the cast and crew, and make his stage directions easier to follow.
The movie's visual effects were created by Weta Digital, a New Zealand company founded by The Lord of The Rings director Peter Jackson.
Earlier this month, Netflix acquired the international digital rights to Animal World for all markets outside China.
(Source: China Daily)