15 Movies Hitting Chinese Theaters in August 2019

By Yihan Chen and Bryan Grogan, August 1, 2019

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Here are all the major international movies to catch in Chinese theaters this August.*

August 2: The Snow Queen: Mirrorlands

Image via Douban

If your young ones are eager to escape the stifling summer heat this month, bring them along to this fantastically frosty animation about the evil Snow Queen, who absorbs all of the magic in the world. Only Gerda, a kind and friendly girl, can stop the evil queen. 

August 2: Friend Zone 

Image via GDH 559/IMDb

This saccharine romantic comedy comes via Thailand this month. Taking the tried and true concept of the ‘friend zone’ to task, this film follows a pair of childhood pals, Palm and Gink, as they voyage through their early adult life as almost lovers. A story of missed opportunities, romantic anticipation and gut-wrenching heartbreak, bring your best gal or guy to the movies and thank your lucky stars that you’re more than just friends. 

August 7: Ride Your Wave

Image via IMDb

This romantic Japanese animation takes place by the sea, as a young girl, Hinako, moves to a new town to attend university and to surf. She meets and falls in love with a firefighter, who tragically dies in a surfing accident. Distraught, Hinako struggles to move forward until she finds the image of her lost love in the water. The ensuing supernatural romance that the pair engage in is not enough to sustain Hinako, and she must learn to move on with her life. 

August 9: Shanghai Fortress

This highly anticipated sci-fi film has been tipped as the next big blockbuster success in China. Set in the future, residents in Shanghai fight against an ongoing attack by insidious alien forces, who are attempting to harvest a precious hidden energy found on Earth. With Shanghai standing as the last hope for mankind, this film is a prime example of soft power in Chinese cinema and should cause much debate. While all of these aspects make the film exciting in itself, you can also get hyped to catch Kris Wu’s former bandmate, and star of Matt Damon-fronted The Great Wall, Lu Han as a soldier in the fight for mankind. 

August 9: UglyDolls 

STX-Entertainment.jpgImage via STX Entertainment/IMDb

This co-production by the USA and China has received below average reviews since its release stateside in May. UglyDolls tells a classic underdog story, profiling a group of free-spirited dolls who set out on an adventure and accidentally enter a world of perfect dolls. Read in one way, this is a film about existential crisis and identity, in another way, it is a cute story revolving around the idea of accepting yourself, warts and all.

August 16: The Mystery of Dragon Seal: Journey to China

Image via Russian Film Group Corporation/IMDb

This long-delayed action adventure sees two of Hollywood’s most-beloved actors, Jackie Chan and Arnold Schwarzenegger team up. The Russian-China co-production also stars the late Rutger Hauer and Charles Dance (Twyin Lannister in GOT). The tale takes place either in the late 17th or early 18th century, during the reign of Russia’s Peter the Great, and sees a cartographer journey to China, encountering a series of bizarre adventures along the way. 

August 16: Bodies At Rest 

After opening at the 2019 iteration of Hong Kong International Film Festival, Finnish director Renny Harlin’s thrilling drama, Bodies at Rest, arrives on the silver screen in the Chinese mainland. This flick marks his third Chinese film to be released since moving to the PRC earlier this decade. Known for edge-of-your-seat films like Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger (an excellent Sylvester Stallone-fronted climbing film), Bodies At Rest is no different. The action takes place in a Hong Kong morgue on Christmas Eve, as criminals break into the facility in order to access a body connected to a crime. 

August 16: The Angry Birds Movie 2 

Image via Rovio Animation/IMDb

Adapted from the bestselling game of the same name, Angry Birds Movie 2 follows the story of flightless birds and green pigs on a small tropical island. In the family-friendly film, the two groups of rivals have to unify in order to defeat a mighty eagle. Voice-over contributions come from an all-star cast, including Dover Cameron, Awkwafina, Peter Dinklage, Bill Hader, Jason Sudeikis and Nicki Minaj. 

August 16: Yesterday

Image via Universal Pictures/IMDb

Can you imagine a world without The Beatles? We certainly can’t. After a car accident during a bizarre global blackout, a struggling musician wakes up in a world where The Beatles had never existed. As any entrepreneurial soul would, he takes advantage of this new world order, playing songs by the greatest band ever and becoming a worldwide music sensation in the process. The film stars Himesh Patel, Lily James and ginger pseudo-Irishman Ed Sheeran. 

August 23: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 

Image via Universal Studios/IMDb

It’s no secret that the Fast & Furious series has been hugely successful in China over the past few years. Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, returns in his role as law enforcer Luke Hobbs, teaming up with former antagonist Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham, to take down a genetically and technologically advanced Idris Elba, who is in possession of a dangerous chemical weapon. Expect all the best parts of the Fast & Furious series to coagulate here: cars, action and plenty of explosions.

August 23: Minuscule 2: Mandibles from Far Away

Image via Douban

Following up on the first cinematic outing of this insect-focused animation, which saw our tiny friends fight for their lives in the harsh animal kingdom, Miniscule 2 sees ladybugs, spiders and ants band together in the Caribbean to overcome new and harsher environments. 

August 23: Remain Silent

Image via Douban

Initially set for release all the way back in 2017, this film finally hits cinemas in China more than two years later. The film revolves around a lawyer who is working on an assassination case, in which a young man kills a well-known singer. The truth, as tends to be the case in courtroom dramas such as this, is obfuscated, with the audience being led on a journey of discovery, courtesy of director Zhou Ke’s storytelling. 

August 26: The Mule

Image via Warner Bros Pictures/IMDb

Good ol’ Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this film as an octogenarian drug mule. The story is based on a New York Times article about real-life mule Leo Sharp. Strapped for cash, Earl Stone (played by Eastwood) takes up an offer to transport drugs through Illinois in the US. Stone is intially massively successful in his new career – who would ever suspect an 80-year-old man of transporting drugs? – but soon the DEA starts to catch up to him. 

August 30: Midnight Diner

Image via Douban

Previous iterations of this story, which follows a mysterious and elderly chef whose restaurant only opens at night and has no set menu, have been both beloved and reviled. The Japanese TV adaptation of the story, which comes from a manga series called Shinya Shokudo, was a hit on Netflix, while the Chinese TV version flopped miserably. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a successful second stab at a Chinese version this month as Midnight Diner hits cinema screens. 

August 30: The Silence

It’s all about silence at the cinema this month. Bearing similarities to the sense-based horror of Netflix smash-hit Bird Box, one of our favorite bespectacled bald men, Stanley Tucci, is joined by Mad Men alumnus Kiernan Shipka as they attempt to evade horrifying and murderous creatures who sense life via sound. 

*Release dates subject to change.

[Cover image via Universal Studios/IMDb]

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