On Thursday, March 7, 2013, the state-sponsored Global Times published a report entitled "Despite Orders Lei Feng Films Bomb." Some excerpts:
Films about the life of Lei Feng, a role model for selflessness in China, showed no box-office appeal on Tuesday, Lei Feng Day.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said on Monday that all film companies and cinemas need to try their best to promote three recently released movies featuring the iconic Lei Feng.Here is a translation of the SARFT order:
. . . .
The three films about Lei Feng's life, Youthful Days, The Sweet Smile, and Lei Feng in 1959, were screened on Monday and Tuesday, as part of the learning from Lei Feng activities.
Tuesday marked the 50th anniversary of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong's call for the country to learn from Lei Feng. Mao's famous slogan stirred generations of do-gooders.
Lei was a young soldier known for his selfless devotion to helping others, he died at age 21 in 1962.
"We planned to show Youthful Days twice a day from Monday, but had to cancel all of the screenings as nobody showed up to buy tickets," a staff member surnamed Liu, at a box office of a cinema in Liaocheng, Shandong Province, told the Global Times Wednesday.
. . . .
"I think the poor box office result doesn't mean society has forgotten the spirit of Lei Feng, because you can still see a lot of people doing good deeds, such as getting involved in charity and volunteer work," Zhang Yiwu, professor and deputy director of the Cultural Resources Research Center of Peking University, told the Global Times.
Notice Regarding Carrying Out Distribution and Screening of "Lei Feng's Youthful Days," "Lei Feng's Sweet Smile," and "Lei Feng in 1959"
1. Carrying out the distribution and screening of "Lei Feng's Youthful Days," "Lei Feng's Sweet Smile," and "Lei Feng in 1959" is a concrete expression of implementing the Spirit of the 18th Party Congress, and all Radio, Film and Television Administrations and related film enterprises shall fully appreciate this important duty, bear in mind their responsibilities, painstakingly plan, and do everything possible to make use of the ability of film to teach through entertainment so that the entire society can create a new surge of study of Comrade Lei Feng and create a good cultural environment and atmosphere. In order to expand the audiences for screening, actively expand the social impact of the moive, and ensure the movie's ability to eductate, guide, and impel, you shall use multiple methods such as screenings in theaters, booking groups, and travelling screenings in the countryside.
2. All distribution companies and theaters shall actively formulate plans for propaganda, distribution, and screenings, and provide copies of the films and propaganda memoriabilia sufficient to satisfy market demands, and attract larger audiences to come to the theater through group tickets or specially priced tickets and high quality service. You shall fully utilize theaters' large cinemas, electronic screens, and promotional displays to carry out propaganda work for the films and ensure the films are shown over a sufficient time with a sufficient number of showings.
3. Relevant movie production enterprises shall actively cooperate with the films' propaganda distribution and screening work, and actively organize promotional activities for the films' production companies and creative personnel, and promptly screen the film in the countryside and provide the materials needed for dubbing the film in minority languages.
4. The Film Digital Programming Management Center shall actively provide information to rural digital film companies and projection teams in order to satisfy the needs of film screening in the countryside.
5. The Film Channel Programming Center and all film media shall coordinate with the films' propaganda distribution and screening, and actively engage in the work of propaganda to promote the film, bring about correct guidance of public opinion, and further promote the films' social impact and dissemination.6. The China Film Distribution and Screening Association shall fully bring into play the utility of the industry association, coordinate screening schedules, propaganda strategies and actively provide service to members. It shall strengthen industry oversight, pay attention to market information, and provide status briefings to industry insiders.