Scene from Avatar – the landscape was inspired by Zhangjiajie and Huangshan
By 2017 China’s film industry is expected to surpass the profits and influence of Hollywood. According to the LA Times, last year alone almost 15 movie screens per day were installed and ticket sales rose 35 percent. While both domestic and international films have made major waves in China, Americans are being equally exposed to Chinese influence.
US companies like Warner Bros are encouraging relations between Hollywood and China in the form of investment and for years have filmed a number of movies in China. Besides making millions, many of the films feature breathtaking Chinese landscapes and cities that inspire and add depth to the films’ stories.
China lends its beauty, culture, people and history to films that awe the world, and luckily, these places are far more than movie sets. We at Imperial Tours have researched the most popular movies filmed in China and compiled a Top 9 list of films shot in China. From lively cities and bustling Hutongs to stunning misty mountains, China offers as many, if not more, memories and adventures than any movie. Perhaps these films will inspire you to visit the Middle Kingdom:
1. “Avatar” – Although the amazing scenery in Avatar was actually created by computer-generated imagery (CGI) it still makes it into our number 1. One of the highest grossing films of all time is set in a lush environment where mountains emerge from the clouds and the lush green flora electrifies and gives life to the planet’s inhabitants. James Cameron, the movie’s director and producer, was inspired by China’s Zhangjiajie national park and Huangshan for the film’s location (both UNESCO World Heritage Sites).
3. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” – In a battle of warriors and martial arts, this movie travels through Beijing, Xinjiang and the Huangshan area.
4. “The Last Emperor” – In order to document the life and memories of the last Emperor of China this movie was filmed solely in the Forbidden City of Beijing, the first production to be allowed inside.
5. “IP Man” – The third movie of this series was released on January 22, 2016 and features Mike Tyson. Many of the other movies where filmed throughout China but this third one focuses mainly on Shanghai and the great Master Ip of Wing Chun.
Scene from Raise the Red Lantern which was filmed at the Qiao Family Mansion in Pingyao
6. “Raise the Red Lantern” – A movie about the concubines of the wealthy Warlord Era of China, it is acclaimed for its use of color and stunning visual appeal, much like the ancient city of Pingyao near which it was filmed.
7. ”Her” – Based on the possible future advancements of AI (artificial intelligence), this movie was filmed in Shanghai.
8. ”The Karate Kid” – The 2010 remake of this classic movie was filmed at the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the Wudang Mountains. Given that the movie featured Chinese martial arts, we at Imperial Tours wonder why it wasn’t renamed “The Kung Fu Kid.”
9. “Kill Bill” – Quentin Tarantino’s trilogy was filmed in Zhongwei and Beijing because Tarantino is such an admirer of traditional martial arts.
Watch these films and see if they don’t inspire you to visit China!