Leonardo DiCaprio, or as he is known by his legions of fans in China, Xiao Li, or Little Li, has recently made dreams come true for some of his Beijing-based fans. The famous star came to Beijing on March 20th to promote his Oscar winning movie The Revenant which was released this past Sunday in Chinese theaters.
The release of the film itself was a surprise given the blood and gore featured in the film, all of which would usually get a thumbs down from the Chinese censors. The small amount of foreign films allowed in China per year (34) made this dark horse of a premier even more unlikely.
The film has already opened to a smashing start, opening with 33 million USD in its first 3 days in China bringing its current worldwide total to 500 million USD. Part of the reason for the showing of The Revenant and its immediate popularity are at least in some part due to the stardom of Leo himself in China. The star has been popular in China since the 90’s for his role in Titanic, making his fan base multi-generational. His fans could be easily seen by the outpouring of online support from his Chinese fans after his last few Oscar misses, which even included a song of support from a devoted fan. Chinese audiences were apparently thrilled Leo’s with long awaited Oscar win which perhaps truly secured the film’s release and success in China.
At his movie promotion press conference in China on March 20th in Beijing, DiCaprio not only discussed the challenges and enjoyment he experienced while filming the movie but also, much like his Oscar acceptance speech, environmental conservation efforts. While it is unsurprising that DiCaprio brought up environmental issues (just check the AQI index for Beijing), his track record of campaigning for environmental reform and fighting climate change now includes saying that China can become a “hero” of the environmental movement if it continues its efforts to shift to renewable energy, despite its large contribution to global warming, to become a model to the rest of the world. If a compliment like that doesn’t guarantee Little Li’s popularity in China, nothing will.
Cover image from yesky.com