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Chinese films should be able to withstand bad reviews

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨People's Daily

12-30-2016 08:45 BJT

Chinese films should be strong enough to tolerate bad reviews, and rating films is a right that belongs to movie viewers, People’s Daily said in a commentary on Dec. 28. The commentary came after professional reviews of several domestic films were removed from an online ticket platform, amid worries that low ratings would harm China's film industry.

Maoyan Dianying, a Chinese movie app, recently eliminated its professional rating service after being criticized by China Film News, a newspaper under the State Administration for Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of China (SAPPRFT). The app was accused of facilitating unfair and vicious comments about domestic films. However, Zhang Hongsen, director of SAPPRF's film bureau, denied the authority’s involvement in the incident.

According to China Film News, three domestic films -- "The Great Wall," "See You Tomorrow" and "Railroad Tigers" -- now face enormous public pressure after a major Weibo account maliciously attacked Zhang Yimou, the director of "The Great Wall." Douban, another film review website, also gave "See You Tomorrow" a one-star rating, which is the lowest possible grade.

The China Film News article challenged the credibility of Maoyan's so-called professional rating system.

“Out of 69 professionals, only 45 rated 'The Great Wall.' Yet their ratings are displayed right next to the ratings given by 401,000 viewers. Can they truly represent the real professionals?” the article asked.

Shortly after the article's publication, Maoyan shut down its professional rating service. The app company explained that the shut-down is only temporarily, done in order to upgrade their system.

A financial media outlet reported on Dec. 27 that the film bureau invited Maoyan and Douban for a closed-door meeting. Zhang Hongsen later refuted the report via social media.

“The Film Bureau has made zero contact with Douban or other platforms so far, and does not know any Douban employees. We hope to jointly discuss measures to promote Chinese movies,” read Zhang’s post.

As for Maoyan’s professional rating system, Zhang noted that he once had an in-depth discussion with Maoyan management on this subject.

“The consensus is that we should increase sample volumes, expand coverage and step up participation to enhance the authority of professional reviews,” Zhang said.

“Different ratings indicate that audiences are becoming more mature and can no longer be ‘fooled’ into buying tickets for bad movies,” the People’s Daily commentary stated, adding that the goal is always to produce substantial and quality works. 

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