Ratings taken from obvious rightist elements.
It will be three weeks tomorrow since China’s mega-starry propaganda film The Founding of a Party (建党伟业, called “Beginning of the Great Revival” by international media) was released in Chinese theaters in the lead up to the CPC 90th Anniversary. Here’s the story so far:
- Before even hitting theaters, authorities announced a box office goal of 1 billion yuan. In order to reach that number, they have employed all manner of tactics, including but not limited to: pre-selling-out theaters for the debut week; mandatory attendance by businesses, schools, and government employees; voluntary field trips (something like “okay, if you don’t want the day off work, that’s up to you”); the release of the film in IMAX, and removal of Kung Fu Panda from many 3D, IMAX, and regular screens, and even reducing ticket prices of competing movies to lower profits; the pushing back of other foreign summer blockbusters such as Transformers 3 and Harry Potter in order to reduce competition.
- It’s impossible to say just how many actual viewers have seen the film, considering anecdotes like this one, where an unsuspecting movie goer found herself in an entirely empty theater. Recommended reading, as she also mentions the funny practice of Chinese going to these star-studded films only the spend the entire two hours waiting for a celebrity, and then screaming their name. Wait, scream, wait, scream, wait, scream.
- Microbloggers were all a-flutter when various screen shots of Founding’s Douban page were circulated on Sina Weibo showing low or rapidly dropping ratings, and then a removal of the reviews entirely. The reviews and ratings functions remain absent from both the Douban and Mtime pages for the film.
- Most reviews (and viewers) of the film say dry, if well made, and enough corn to pack a pilgrim peace offering. The New York Times, while calling it out on “self-indulgent overstatement”, also croons that “Employing Hollywood flourishes like split screen and digital effects, “Revival” is a proud statement by an ascendant society.” Barf. Stay tuned for the Shanghaiist’s own review, coming soon!