Actress Yan Ni playing the wife of a noodle shop owner in A Simple Noodle Life. (Photo: Global Times)
BEIJING, Dec. 10 -- Internationally renowned director Zhang Yimou has changed his mode of operation in his latest film a bid to capture a dwindling cinema market ¨C young people. Zhang has taken a completely different tack by adding rap, fresh dialogue and controversial stars to his latest work A Simple Noodle Story that opens across the country today.
"I will be more than thrilled if young people take up a majority of audiences and the film receives good feedback from them," Zhang said, adding that he is targeting those born in the 1980s and 1990s in an effort to attract them to the cinema.
The first group of people that Zhang invited to the test screening were all born in the 1990s.
"They are my most important target audience and the future of the Chinese film market relies on them," Zhang said.
He explained that after the test screening, the young audience members made very valuable suggestions.
Unlike the traditional and costly promotional activities of his previous blockbusters Hero and House of Flying Daggers, this time Zhang is attempting to attract those in their teens and twenties by using modern technology such as the Internet.
An interactive online game has been developed, set against the same backdrop of the film, a noodle restaurant. Scenes from his previous works have also been selected and edited into a short comedic film that has been widely distributed online.
Zhang has denied the rumor that A Simple Noodle Story is a small-budget film aimed at making quick money in the New Year period. According to producer Zhang Weiping, the cost of the film totaled 100 million yuan ($14.65 million), 80 percent of which were production costs and the rest was promotion.
"The copyright of using the Coen Brothers' script alone cost us several million yuan," Zhang Weiping explained. He said that although the cast is not made up of the top actors and actresses in China, their wages still cost 20 percent of the budget. The production spent another 5 million yuan ($732,362) on building and shooting on location in Gansu Province, an investment typical of Zhang Yimou.
Zhang Weiping added that although with a big budget, it is still a small-scale film, taking place in a small noodle restaurant with limited special effects and not an A-list cast.
"After our last three cooperations, Hero, House of Flying Daggers and Curse of the Golden Flower, there have been too many people making epic action films. Zhang Yimou and I both decided not to repeat ourselves this time, but to make a small-scale and more successful film."
He also confirmed that their cooperation would continue in Zhang Yimou's next project, which is about the Nanking Massacre and rumored to start shooting in September. Leading actors are expected to be cast from Hollywood's A-list.
(Source: Global Times)