On Screen China: Lovers’ Holiday Could Boost ‘Online-to-Offline’ Romance Pic

  • Last week’s BO champ, Time Raiders, will see a dramatic drop in ticket sales on toxic word of mouth.
  • The Chinese release calendar has four “lovers’ holidays” that tend to spark a rise in moviegoing.
  • Love O2O should leverage the Qixi holiday to eke out a weekend of around RMB 150 M (U.S.$23M).

Part of a poster for Love O2O, a romantic film based on an online role playing game (Courtesy Weibo)

Several new releases enter Chinese cinemas this weekend to challenge last weekend’s champion Time Raiders. The 3D adventure film that stars upstarts Lu Han and Jing Boran, has grossed RMB 752 million ($113.4 million) in just one week in theaters, including in the IMAX format, but will see a dramatic drop-off in ticket sales this weekend as the stars’ core fans move on and toxic word of mouth about the film’s quality deters the general audience.

Herewith, CFI looks at two of the most promising films to hit silver screens:

Line Walker (使徒行者)

China Distributor: Beijing Jiaying Pictures (北京嘉映影业有限公司)
U.S. Distributor: Magnum Films / Chopflix

Based on the hit 2014 crime thriller series produced by Hong Kong’s TVB, Line Walker hits Chinese cinemas as a Hong Kong-China co-production. The television series had the highest click rate of any TVB program ever in China with more than 2 million views. Producers are keen to transform those clicks into potential movie tickets. Line Walker should exceed the previous TVB-adapted series Triumph of the Skies (冲上云霄), which grossed RMB 156 million ($24.6 million) in 2015.

Love O2O (微微一笑很倾城)

China Distributor: Huace Pictures (华策影业有限公司)

The Chinese release calendar has four “Lovers” holidays that tend to spark a rise in moviegoing, especially among young Chinese couples Valentine’s Day (February 14), Christmas Eve (December 24),  Wo Ai Ni (May 20, whose pronunciation is a loose homophone for “I Love You” in Mandarin), and Chinese Valentine’s Day or Qixi. This year, Qixi fell on Tuesday (Aug. 9) and several distribution companies tried to capitalize with the release of romantic films.

In a bid to bring in the young male demographic who often get dragged to cinemas on these holidays, Love O2O — whose title refers to the “online-to-offline” path that brings so many Chinese together these days — stars Angelababy and Jing Boran (Time Raiders, Monster Hunt) as two young gamers who find love through a role-playing video game.

Love O2O should be able to take advantage of the Qixi holiday rush and eke out a weekend victory in the RMB 150 million range ($23 million).