Chinese films start to enter market for revival

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, June 18, 2022
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A poster of "One Week Friend." [Photo courtesy of Alibaba Pictures]

The much-anticipated Chinese youth drama "One Week Friend" will be released nationwide on Saturday as the domestic COVID-19 situation improves, a step forward to reviving the cold film market.

Helmed by Taiwan-based director Gavin Lin, "One Week Friend" is a Chinese adaptation based on the Japanese manga series "Isshukan Friends" by Matcha Hazuki. The film revolves around a group of high school students who take it upon themselves to befriend a lonely transfer student who has a short-term memory illness that means she can only remember individuals for seven days. The cast includes Angel Zhao, Lin Yi, Shen Yue, and Wang Jiahui.

The film is a production under Alibaba Pictures' Surprise Works label. Director Gavin Lin is known for his popular romance "More than Blue," which grossed 958 million yuan in the mainland in 2019, making it one of the highest-grossing romances ever. "One Week Friend" is another collaboration with "More than Blue" screenwriter Hermes Lu.

To also help promote the new film, producers called on pop singer Hebe Tien to write the theme song.

The film will have particular appeal among high school students who will soon enter summer vacation, especially those who just completed their college entrance exams in early June.

On two major ticketing platforms, Maoyan and Taopiaopiao, more than 250,000 and 190,000 users said they wanted to see "One Week Friend" in cinemas, respectively. It is set to be one of the first Chinese films to debut in the market after recent screen closures caused by the epidemic. The disruptions have allowed foreign films to dominate the Chinese film market for several months. The most recent release, "Jurassic World Dominion,” recently grossed more than 500 million yuan, becoming the biggest foreign imported film in the Chinese market this year so far.

But the epidemic has not yet completely died down. Just after Beijing started to resume screenings at the end of May, a new resurgent wave has once again closed down several large cinemas, forcing Alibaba Pictures to cancel its original premiere plans for "One Week Friend."

Nevertheless, the film will hit Chinese theaters on June 18, ushering in a period of re-welcoming Chinese films to the market. On June 24, another greatly anticipated drama, "Lighting Up the Stars,” will hit screens. While July 15 will see the release of another heavyweight domestic sci-fi comedy, "Mozart from Space,” by Chen Sicheng, who directed the Chinese juggernaut franchise "Detective Chinatown.”

Other major Chinese films due for release this summer include all-star COVID-themed anthology drama "Ode to the Spring" on July 1 and firefighting action blockbuster "Flashover" on July 8. It is forecast that more films will soon announce summer release dates. 

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