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|The popular online comedy series Surprise will be adapted into a movie. Its promotional event in Beijing features the production crew and celebrities Forrest Lamp Jersey , including (from left) actor Luo Hongming, Wang Sicong, the chairman of Wanda Group, director Yi Zhenxing, producer Huang Jianxin and best-selling author Han Han. [PhotoCFP]
Popular short comedies will have their day as feature films, the latest in an online-to-cinema trend, Wang Kaihao reports.
Surprise Mike Williams Jersey , a series of short comedies broadcast on China's leading video-streaming website Youku, has attracted more than 2 billion clicks since its premiere in 2013.
So it wasn't a surprise when Internet colossus announced on Tuesday in Beijing that the show will be adapted into a feature-length film.
The original miniseries, which was composed of 31 five-minute-long episodes over two seasons, chose wide-ranging topics including ancient novels, historical legends and modern daily life to create adventure stories mixed with amusement and satire. It also has stirred a wide discussion among the young generation by injecting many buzzwords and slang into people's daily dialogues.
"The right time has come," says Yi Zhenxing, director of the series and the upcoming film. The 31-year-old Uchenna Nwosu Jersey , better known by his pseudonym "Joy Show", first got public notice for short films.
The new film's shooting will begin later this month, but the release date remains unknown.
Yi promises he will stick to a typical filmmaking process, clearly distinguishing the result from the online episodes.
The screenplay has been changed some 41 times. He says he will shun "lousy" special effects.
Han Han, the best-selling author who made his directorial debut, The Continent, last year Derwin James Jersey , will be the film's production designer supervising multiple processes from soundtrack to screenplay.
Huang Jianxin, a big name in the Chinese film industry, will be the film's producer. He says he had not heard of Surprise when he got invited. He finally joined the film spurred by "curiosity and admiration for the creativity".
The cast of the film will be identical to that of the original series, which means no established movie star will be introduced. Lead actor Luo Hongming, better known by his screen name White K, has never played in a movie before.
A newbie filmmaking team is not an obstacle for Youku's ambition.
"The film is to better serve fans of our online shows," says Gu Yongqiang Jahleel Addae Jersey , CEO of Youku. "It's a surprise not only to see that an online show has become a phenomenon within two years, but a promising future of a fan-based economy. I wish Surprise could be a miracle among spinoffs of Chinese online shows."
Future of moviemaking
His company has made similar attempts successfully before.
Last summer, Old Boys: The Way of the Dragon, a low-budget comedy adapted from a short film released on the website, gained more than 200 million yuan ($32 million) from the country's box office. Its song, Little Apple, went viral on cyberspace and has become a Chinese counterpart of Korean Gangnam Style.
Gu hinted on Tuesday that Youku will possibly begin cooperation with domestic leading smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi Keenan Allen Jersey , developing more spinoffs for its online videos. Lei Jun, CEO of Xiaomi, was among the onlookers at the film's promotional event.
Last year, Youku established its own film company, Heyi Pictures. Now, it has already drafted a long waiting list after this first feature-length film. For example, Yes Boss! Melvin Ingram Jersey , another series of online short films on Youku in 2013, will soon be adapted into a feature-length film.
Zhu Huilong, CEO of Heyi Pictures, says he believes the future of moviemaking will require creators to target more than just cinemas.
In April, Youku released its ambitious plan to bring nine films of regular length each year tailor-made for out-of-cinema audiences, including the movie channel of China Central Television as well as TV and video systems on planes, trains and subways.
"If any of them is particularly well-received Joey Bosa Jersey , we will further invest to upgrade it into a feature film to be shown in cinemas as well," Zhu said earlier.
Youku is only one of the Chinese Internet giants accelerating their march toward cinemas recently. Alibaba Pictures just announced its plan to move the popular online fantasy novel Sansheng Sanshi Shili Taohua (Ten-Mile Peach Blossom of Three Lifetimes) to the big screen two weeks ago. Jianbing Man, a superhero film adapted from a miniseries on Sohu, will be released in July.
"The Internet's influence now can be seen not only in the art form but also in the shooting techniques of many productions," says Yin Hong, a media professor at Tsinghua University. "It can help a movie gain quick recognition among younger audiences and bring a 'grassroots feel' to films."
However, at the annual Film Critics' Choice Awards ceremony in May Melvin Gordon Jersey , Beijing Film Academy's senior professor Huang Shixian said that the industry's belief in the Internet as a guarantee of their products' popularity is so obsessive that it leaves less room for creating products with abundant cultural meaning.
After a large segment of Chinese cinema is given over to such adaptions of online products in the near future, will filmgoers still feel the results are fresh enough to pay for the ticket?
Well, maybe the filmmakers still need surprises.
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Oil product prices advanced 8.9 percent in May from a year earlier, ra.