Chinese filmmaker Ning Hao’s long-delayed road movie No Man’s Land has grossed $3.2m (RMB19.5m) on its opening day in China (Dec 3).

Co-produced by DMG Entertainment and China Film Group, the film tells the story of a lawyer who drives to the deserts of China’s far west and on his way back encounters a multitude of characters, ranging from strippers to smugglers to murderers. Xu Zheng, Huang Bo and Yu Nan head the cast.

The film has taken three years to reach Chinese screens due to censorship issues.

“We always knew that this was going to be a challenge – the movie is edgy and cool in a way that most Chinese films aren’t,” said DMG CEO Dan Mintz. “That meant a longer approval process, being prepared for that allowed us to focus on the end result – a thoroughly enjoyable movie experience.”

Leading Chinese film portal gave No Man’s Land an 8.6 “expectation score” with the delays and censorship problems apparently working in its favour. Ning Hao is one of China’s most popular directors following hits such as Crazy Stone and Crazy Racer.

“We have been working on No Man’s Land for several years now and are excited to see it in theatres. It’s a wonderful film that combines elements from Chinese mythology, American westerns and modern black comedies,” said DMG president Wu Bing.