The ghoul-themed Mojin: The Lost Legend broke Chinese film records within four days of its December 19 release.
With a box office take of 700 million yuan, Mojin trounced the similarly ghoul-themed Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe, which debuted on September 30 and took in 620 million yuan during its 90-day month run.
Mojin: The Lost Legend also achieved the highest box office sales of any Chinese 3D film on opening day, and film industry insiders expect it to set more records during the course of its run.
Directed by Wuershan and adapted from Guichuideng by Tianxia Bachang, Mojin tells the story of three people’s adventure into a tomb.
Hu Bayi (played by Chen Kun), Wang Kaixuan (played by Huang Bo) and Shirley Yang (played by Hsu Chi) are brothers and sisters of the same tomb master. The three were known as The Captain of Mojin during their years of tomb raiding.
Hu and Wang head to America with Shirley Yang. The two men can find no work other than selling what they stole from the tombs on the street. They are chased by immigration officers and end up going their separate ways after a quarrel.
Wang meets his former partner Laojin (played by Xia Yu), who tries to convince the three to explore another business. Wang, drunk and about to refuse, spots a flower that grows at the boundary between the living and dead on the contract. The flower reminded him of a Ding Sitian, a girl Hu and Wang met in the past.
Wang signs the contract with Hongjie, the big boss, and returns to China to tell Hu and Shirley what he has seen.
When Wang’s search for the flowers lands him in the tomb of the Awgu Prince of the Liao Dynasty, Hu and Shirley arrive to rescue him and the three begin working together.
As they move further into the tomb, they meet more dangers and difficulties. The story explores lessons of the past and how its characters learn to let go.
In the story, Hu Bayi and Wang Kaixuan were comrades in the Cultural Revolution. To capture the positive energy that many people had during that period, director Wuershan used yellow bulbs to give the scenes a golden cast. He also studied many actual tombs, their legends and other Chinese novels and films related to tomb exploration.
Chen Kun played Hu Bayi, the team’s handsome leader, and Huang Bo plays Wang Kaixuan, the chubby comical foil. Hsu Qi played the only female team member – a cold character with black humor.
Xia Yu used to be a stage actor, but his performance as Laojin is completely different from the roles he became known for playing.