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Operation Red Sea,” the most successful film of the year at the mainland Chinese box office, has been selected by Hong Kong as its contender in the foreign-language Oscars category.

The selection was made by the Federation of Motion Film Producers of Hong and announced on Monday.

A violent propaganda film in which the Chinese navy is mobilized to save a Chinese national held hostage in an unspecified African country, the film was directed on a $70 million budget by Hong Kong’s Dante Lam, credited on the picture as Lin Chaoxin.

The film was the come from behind hit of the crowded Chinese New Year period in February. It opened in third place with $72 million in its opening weekend, behind “Monster Hunt 2” and “Detective Chinatown 2.” But it went on to overtake both of them and score $576 million, the second highest figure ever achieved by a Chinese-language film.

It was released in North America by WellGo USA in February, where it earned $1.54 million. In Hong Kong, where it was released with an 18 certificate, it grossed $1.03 million.

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Production was by Bona Film Group, Emperor Motion Pictures, Star Dream Studio, Film Fireworks and the People’s Liberation Army Navy. Internationals sales are handled by Emperor.