With Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel set to release soon, lots of money will be spent at North American movie theaters. However, the biggest box office hit of 2019 isn’t a Hollywood blockbuster or a franchise comic adaptation. It’s The Wandering Earth, a Chinese science fiction film about a global effort to thrust planet Earth from its orbit and into a new star system.
Produced for $50 million, The Wandering Earth released on February 5 and has quickly become a cinematic phenomenon. In China, the film has already become the country’s second highest-grossing movie of all time, not far behind the 2017 action sequel Wolf Warrior 2 (which also features Wu Jing in a starring role). The Wandering Earth is directed by 38-year-old Chinese filmmaker Frant Gwo, whose previous film was the 2014 coming-of-age drama My Old Classmate.
Intrigued? You should be. Here's everything we know about The Wandering Earth.
The Wandering Earth Is Currently 2019’s Top Grossing Movie
To date, The Wandering Earth has grossed over $600 million worldwide. For context, it has doubled the second highest-grossing film of 2019, Crazy Alien, which is also a Chinese production. It's only in third where you get Western films: Glass, with How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and Alita: Battle Angel not far behind.
Last year, Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War grossed over $2 billion worldwide, becoming the fourth highest-grossing film ever produced. Meanwhile, China actually surpassed North America for the first time as the world’s largest box office market, at least during the year’s opening quarter. The Wandering Earth's massive success marks yet another big moment for the Chinese movie industry.
Why Haven’t I Heard of The Wandering Earth?
At the time of release, The Wandering Earth was only available to Chinese audiences. Last January, however, Beijing’s CMC Pictures announced that the science fiction film would indeed have a limited February release in North America. Unless you’re living in a big city, though, it’s unlikely that The Wandering Earth will be playing at your local movie theatre. Fortunately, it will be available to stream later this year.
Netflix Just Bought The Wandering Earth
On February 20, Netflix acquired the international streaming rights for The Wandering Earth. In an official statement (via Deadline), Netflix’s Manager of Content Acquisition, Jerry Zhang, stated that the streaming powerhouse is “committed to providing entertainment lovers with access to a wide variety of global content.”
Netflix will reportedly translate The Wandering Earth into 28 languages. Until The Wandering Earth arrives on Netflix, subscribers can check out its star, Wu Jing, by streaming his 2016 film Call of Heroes.