HONG KONG – Originally slated for release in December, the sequel of current Chinese box office champ, the rite-of-passage drama Tiny Times, will now make its bow next month, according to its director Guo Jingming.
In a tweet posted last night on his official Weibo page (China’s version of Twitter), Guo announced Tiny Times 2 will now open in China on August 9 — four months earlier than the release date unveiled by the series’ distributors, Le Vision Pictures, during a press conference in Beijing in April.
Having successfully adapted his own Tiny Times novels into a box office hit — the film has now grossed $73.8 million since it opened on June 28 — Guo is now in Taipei at work on the post-production of the second installment. The film’s producers now intend to convert Guo’s books into a tetralogy, with shooting of the third film set to commence at the end of this year for a summertime release in 2014.
The new release date represents a heightened confidence on the producers’ part about the appeal of the Tiny Times franchise. Opening on August 9 would mean a clash with contemporary dramas such as Saving Mother Robot and Crime of Passion, both of which star A-lister Huang Xiaoming. The film will have to make its killing during the first two weeks, given the arrival, on August 22, of Barbara Wong’s The Stolen Years (starring rom-com queen Bai Baihe and Taiwanese pin-up Joseph Chang), as well as the releases of the 3-D version of Jurassic Park and Monsters University.
While he might have proved his commercial mettle, Guo has come under fire for the past two weeks for having delivered what critics have described as a vacuous celebration of lavish lifestyles and commodity-driven capitalism. The film has proved to be one of the most divisive releases to emerge in China in recent years, given how Guo has maintained a loyal, young and very media-savvy fanbase — as evidenced by the 20.4 million followers he has on Weibo — who are always on hand to spar with their idol’s detractors online.
Based on his own novels — which Guo himself has said, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, are read mostly by a female, late-teen demographic – Tiny Times charts the lives of four young women as they move through high-school, university and then early adulthood in a strikingly grandiose Shanghai.
The film stars mainland Chinese actress Mini Yang and Taiwanese star Amber Guo as the two more prominent characters in this clique, with Taiwanese heartthrobs Kai Ko Chen-tung and Rhydian Vaughan as love interests for the protagonists.