Scheme in Antiques, an upcoming film adapted from writer Ma Boyong's best-selling novel of the same title that's been referred to as the Chinese equivalent of the Indiana Jones' adventures, is set to open across the Chinese mainland on Dec 3.
With a stellar cast led by actors Lei Jiayin, Li Xian, Ge You and actress Xin Zhilei, the movie has raked over 5 million yuan ($785,500) in presales, becoming the country's latest presale box-office champion topping the forthcoming weekend charts.
Set in the 1990s, the film unfolds with the return of the lost head of a Buddha statue -- once placed in Empress Wu Zetian's royal temple during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) -- from Japan. A descendant from a prestigious antique business family is required by the Japanese side to carry out the handover, but it pulls him into a complex situation, followed by a series of bizarre and dangerous events.
To appear realistic, around 10,000 props were made for an epic scene featuring the protagonists who were on a search of the priceless treasure in a fictional city. The Buddha's head took seven months to complete – using a mix of hand-crafted and 3D printing methods, according to producer Liang Lin. Nearly 30 genuine antiques were also used in the production.
Liang also wished the film's appealing storyline will raise awareness about the culture and history of China's antiques among the younger audience. Ma, the novelist who served as the literature consultant for the movie, said the film adaptation is "creative and smartly grasps the original story's core message".