By Michael Evans
Screenings of the film Young Lei Feng have been cancelled in cities across China after not one person bought a ticket on the hyper-publicized holiday commemorating the Communist martyr.
According to the Hollywood Reporter:
Speaking to the Yangtse Evening Post, a staff member from a Nanjing cinema said the venue canceled all four screenings of the film after it opened on Monday. “Not a single person bought tickets, so we had to pull the screening when the time came – all four screenings hit zero at the box office,” he said.
“We are quite surprised, as generally you would sell some tickets for a movie one way or the other.”
Young Lei Feng is one of three films dealing with the revolutionary superhero currently in theaters, running alongside the scintillatingly-titled Lei Feng in 1959 and Lei Feng’s Smile. A SARFT communiqué issued Monday called on local Party cadres to organize group viewings and rural tours to ensure that the films get the proper audience they deserve.
It remains to be seen whether more extreme measures will be used, as in the (unsuccessful) 2011 push to ratchet box office numbers for the historical epic Founding of a Party, including issuing fake tickets, deleting negative reviews, and delaying the release of popular foreign blockbusters.