Another day, another story about how a major Hollywood Summer blockbuster goes head to head with a pacificrim_071513_1600low-budget domestic film at the Chinese box-office. More often than not, Hollywood films dominate in China, with a few exceptions here and there. Unfortunately for the Chinese film industry, not every film can be Lost in Thailand or Journey to the West, and Goliath inevitably defeats David. That recently occurred when a homegrown coming-of-age drama (Tiny Times) was forced to go up against giant robots fight giant monsters (Pacific Rim).


SPOILER ALERT: The robots won.


Guillermo del Toro’s latest raked in $9 million on its opening day in China. While that doesn’t sound like much compared to its opening in the States, this is the biggest opening for a Warner Bros. movie in China. After about a week in theaters, Pacific Rim went on to make $33.9 million, while Tiny Times only brought home $27.2 million. We previously reported on how well the Chinese film was doing, but it seems that bright star is starting to fade.


f2c2084a20a44623a6ad365b9922720e0df3d781The threat of Hollywood dominance in the Chinese film market has prompted the Chinese government to enforce a “black-out” period, allowing for more of China’s domestic films to have a shot at being seen without the threat of being outshined by a robot/monster punch orgy.  China did the same thing last year, which lasted a whole two-month period. With Hollywood out of the way, China’s own filmmakers will be able to screen One Night Surprise, Tiny Times II (that was fast), and Saving Mother Robot. Enjoy, China!


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.


001fd04cf34a128abf2a3aIf 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!Tiny-Times-8


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.