If you need further proof that China is gradually losing interest in Hollywood sensationalism in favor of homegrown films, the latest piece of evidence comes in the form of a coming-of-age tale called Tiny Times. In preparation for its official release on Thursday, the Chinese drama will have a sneak preview tonight, Wednesday evening, on over 600 screens in 60 cities across China. Ambition is high, given the huge reception it received at its world premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival. The anticipation is that Tiny Times will sell out in every single screening.
If you’re curious about that title, it’s not a film about a newspaper for short people, so stop asking. Tiny Times is the story of four female university graduates trying to find their place in life as adults. The film is an adaptation of the best-selling novel of the same name, and is directed by its author, Guo Jingming. Tiny Time’s central protagonist is Lin Shao, played in the film by Mini Yang Mi, who faces real-life challenges of securing a job and dealing with overbearing bosses. What young adult, Chinese or America, couldn’t relate to that?
The appeal to young adults is unmistakable, which is exactly the demographic the people behind Tiny Times are looking to capitalize on. The Chinese youth market is undergoing near-constant metamorphosis, as evident in a recent statistic that suggested that the average age of a typical moviegoer in China went from 25 to 21 in the span of three years. With the changing environment in China’s movie-going crowd, their advertising methods must also adapt to survive. Billboard advertising was thrown under the bus in favor of Weibo, of which Guo has almost 20 million followers, and other social media outlets. In other words: Billboards are for your grandpa!
According to Guo, young Chinese moviegoers are “impulsive” and “really, really need to see the film the moment it’s available.” If his assertion of China’s youth is correct, tonight’s Tiny Times is likely to perform as expected. It’s not difficult to see the parallels between this sneak preview and the widely popular midnight showings of countless summer blockbusters in America. That being said, they clearly got the idea from us. You’re welcome, China. You’re welcome.