The film, which critics are calling China's 'Dallas Buyers Club,' earned nearly $50 million from pre-release previews and is being hailed as a creative breakthrough for the film industry.
China's latest blockbuster, Dying to Survive, pulled off a rare feat of box-office magic this week: it managed to earn $50 million before it even opened.
A social drama tinged with black comedy, Dying to Survive premiered to rave reviews at the Shanghai International Film Festival in late June. It then hit the road on a promotional tour holding limited sneak-peek screenings in select cities across the country.
With each stop, enthusiasm swelled, and the film soon became China's most widely discussed, critically acclaimed movie in years, scoring a 9.7/10 rating on ticketing service Maoyan.
Produced by Chinese hitmaker Ning Hao, Dying to Survive tells the story of a shady health supplements supplier, played by comedy favorite Xu Zheng (Lost in Thailand), who smuggles unapproved drugs from India to sell to leukemia patients who can't afford the prohibitively expensive official medication offered by Chinese hospitals. Initially inspired by financial interest, the smuggler's motives evolve as he realizes how desperately his customers need help.