Box office knockout: Will boxing become China’s next hot sport?

Chinese director Jia Ling’s latest film is sparking nationwide interest in boxing. Should luxury brands get in on the action?

What happened

A new film in China is smashing box office sales and sparking a new fitness craze.

Yolo by Jia Ling, the acclaimed Chinese director of Hi, Mom, took the title of box office champion over the Spring Festival holiday, earning $450 million (3.23 billion RMB) as of February 24, according to film platform Beacon.

The movie, which premiered on February 10, follows the story of an overweight, unemployed woman who turns her life around after taking up boxing. Jia, who also plays the protagonist, made headlines for losing over 100 pounds over the course of filming.

With Jia and her character’s transformation trending on social media, interest in boxing has spiked, particularly among women looking to lose weight. Searches related to “boxing” on online retail platform Meituan have jumped 388.4 percent year-on-year since the movie’s release, while searches for “trial class for adult boxing,” “month-pass for boxing,” and “women’s boxing” increased tenfold on the Yelp-like app Dianping compared with the same period during the 2023 Spring Festival.

The Jing Take

On Xiaohongshu, the hashtag for the film (#热辣滚烫) has over 1.3 billion views as Chinese netizens imitate workouts from the movie or try their hand at boxing.

Xiaohongshu user Piaofuyumao (@漂浮羽毛) shares her experience joining a women’s boxing class for the first time after being inspired by the film. “The moment I punched, I felt so powerful, like a lot of muddy thoughts were shaken off all at once,” she writes on the lifestyle platform. “After more than an hour, I took off my boxing gloves and was sweating profusely, and I couldn’t help but think, Jia Ling, you’re the real deal!” Continue to read the full article here

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