Guo Jingming is China’s richest writer, with three novels selling more than 1 million copies each, including his 2003 debut “City of Fantasies.” He’s also a mega-successful fi lm director: His “Tiny Times” broke box office records when it opened a month ago — and the sequel is getting an amazingly fast release, on Aug. 9.
“Tiny Times” is distinctly New China. It’s a Shanghai-set tale of beautiful girls and handsome boys who live in luxury and revel in their brand-name possessions and their Western-style values. The pic has struck a chord with a generation of freshly wealthy young Chinese, but infuriated critics. And the 30-year-old Guo has no fewer than three sequels in the works.
“Times” centers on the love lives and burgeoning careers of four girls from di erent backgrounds. The Xinhua news agency described the movie as “like ‘Sex and the City,’ without the sex.”
The pic broke opening day records for a 2D movie, taking in $11.9 million on June 27. Since then, it has knocked “Man of Steel” off the top of the B.O. charts in China, and by July 17 had minted 490 million yuan ($79.8 million). Last week, China Lion Film Distribution unveiled plans for a July 26 launch in North America.
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Guo says that his ambition is to make a youth franchise, like the U.S. “Twilight,” that refl ects China. According to the website of the government’s censor, the Film Bureau, script approval for several sequels was applied for and granted in June.
Guo announced the Aug. 9 bow of the sequel on his website. By screening in August, Guo ensures students, a core aud, will be available.
About half the webizens on Sina Weibo (the Chinese version of Twitter) lament that the pic glorifies money worship, while others say it is a celebration of friendship. Guo sniffs that the generation born after 1980 wants lives like their peers in the West: “We didn’t have any movies that target the post-1990s generation, who are a major force today.”
Like the film and his books, Guo’s personality is divisive. Despite his popularity, readers of the mega-forum Tianya.com voted him China’s most hated male celebrity for several years in a row.
Hailing from a humble background in southwest China, the diminutive author-director also has a successful publishing business, and flaunts his wealth with a taste for designer threads, among other luxuries.
“I made my dream come true,” he says. “Everyone can realize their dreams, too.”