Film of women's route to independence has global appeal

Updated: Feb 20, 2024 Print
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Movie poster features actress-director Jia Ling. [Photo provided to China Daily]

YOLO, the highest-grossing film of the just concluded Spring Festival, has sold its international distribution rights to Sony Pictures, according to Sony Pictures and the Chinese company, News Classics Media.

As the second directorial outing of actress-turned-director Jia Ling, the movie earned a whopping ticket revenue of 2.72 billion yuan ($378 million), taking the top spot on the festival box-office charts.

The film recounts that Du Leying, portrayed by Jia, leads a directionless life as a self-enclosed woman. After a family conflict shatters her self-esteem, she decides to leave home, where she lives with her parents and her divorced younger sister. From then on, the protagonist grapples with a challenging life, working at a small restaurant. Her unexpected encounter with Hao Kun, a boxing coach, brings a glimmer of hope into her monotonous existence. However, fate plays another cruel and miserable trick on her, further complicating her journey.

Poster of YOLO, the highest-grossing film of the Spring Festival this year. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Also casting actor Lei Jiayin as the coach, the movie is jointly produced by New Classics Media and China Literature Pictures, both subsidiaries of China Literature Ltd. The movie is also the first Chinese mainland film for which Sony Pictures did not participate in production but acquired global distribution rights.

In October, Sony Pictures acquired the English-language remake rights of Jia's directorial debut, Hi, Mom, which earned 5.4 billion yuan to become the second-highest grossing film in 2021.

Hou Xiaonan, CEO of China Literature Ltd and producer of YOLO, said that a compelling narrative has the power to transcend boundaries.

The essence of YOLO, with the title meaning "you only live once", carries a universal message, advocating self-love and authenticity, which forms the groundwork for the film to bridge cultural gaps and attract a global audience, he added.

The film also casts actor Lei Jiayin. [Photo provided to China Daily]

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