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China’s domestic film industry under fire for asking audiences to 'go domestic'

By Jiang Jie (People's Daily Online)    15:59, July 26, 2017

Another Chinese domestic film has become the target of unsatisfied audiences, not only because of its poorly-designed poster, but because they practically begged people to watch the film.

The film “Our Shining Days,” which debuted on July 20, tells the story about a campus band whose members are fond of anime culture and how the band inspires others on campus.

Unlike Paramount’s “The School of Rock” whose posters of a rock-and-roll guitar-playing Jack Black, the Chinese music-themed film was largely rejected once it released its posters showing actors with colorful wigs playing traditional Chinese instruments. Many blatantly pointed out that the posters were poorly designed and of low standard.

The film “Our Shining Days” is currently rated at 7.3 out of 10 on the Chinese media review site Douban.com, while “The School of Rock” is rated at 7.8.

In response to the outcry, the filmmakers created an apology poster, triggering even wider dislike among audiences. The apology poster showed seven people kneeling on the ground in front of a big screen with the caption: “Please do not miss out on a good film due to its poster.” Each of the seven people on their knees was holding a piece of paper describing their role in the publicity campaign, including one of the poster designers.

Many said that the stunt has backfired. Some pointed to the film “Dangal,” starring Aamir Khan, as an example to follow, whose great performance naturally attracted audiences.

This is the latest of a series of controversial actions by some Chinese filmmakers to protect the domestic film industry.

In May, Chinese film producer An Xiaofen’s called for her new film “Edge of Innocence” to receive more shares of screens, claiming that her film was in an unfair competition against “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales,” which debuted about the same time.

In February, Director Hu Xuehua also begged for more screens for his film “Lord of Shanghai,” arguing that the Chinese film market has been taken over by action films.

On Douban, “Lord of Shanghai” is rated at 4.8, while “Edge of Innocence” received a score of 4.9.

Fang Li, producer of “Song of Phoenix,” received a rare victory after weeping and kowtowing in a video to try to get the last film of the late Wu Tianming, a famous director in China, shown on more screens. The film now has a rating of 8 out of 10 on Douban.

China’s domestic film industry has always been a hot discussion topic on social media. While some films receive good reviews, others are made fun of by netizens. The past few years saw a number of good Chinese films compete with major Western blockbusters, as China continues to encourage and support domestic films. Since 2004, a month-long protection period for domestic films has been unofficially maintained. Usually the summer months will see more domestic films, while imported overseas films will be postponed. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Jiang Jie, Bianji)

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