Iconic Hong Kong film star Stephen Chow ventures into micro-dramas
Published: Jan 31, 2024 03:07 AM
Photo: Screenshot of Douyin

Photo: Screenshot of Douyin

Iconic Hong Kong film star and director Stephen Chow announced his upcoming venture, the "9527 Theater," a comedy label dedicated to micro-dramas, on Monday.

In a video posted on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, Chow displayed the "9527 Theater" written in Chinese on a whiteboard. On the same day, Douyin disclosed an exclusive collaboration with Chow for the development and operation of the "9527 Theater." Media reports suggest that Chow's first production under this label, titled Jinzhuyuye, is anticipated to premiere on the platform in May.

The name "9527" is inspired by one of Stephen Chow's iconic characters in the film Flirting Scholar. In the movie, Chow's character, Tang Bohu, used the code name "9527," and this quirky reference has become a trademark for the actor.

Chow has expressed that micro-dramas are a rapidly growing field in recent years, driven by technological and media innovations. He hopes that this new venture into micro-dramas will bring more joy to the audience, as reported by the media.

Micro-dramas, known for their brevity, low production costs, and diverse themes, have gained immense popularity in recent years.

The industry has experienced significant growth, with data from the think tank China'En Data indicating that over 1,400 micro-drama series were released in 2023, representing a consecutive year-on-year growth rate exceeding 50 percent.

Since its boom in 2023, many traditional film and television institutions have been making efforts to enter this field.

"The advantage of micro-drama content lies in its short and fast production cycle, enabling immediate connections with audiences and hot topics," Beijing-based film commentator Tang Shuang told the Global Times.

"With the participation of numerous companies and institutions, we can anticipate higher quality micro-dramas," Tang added.

On January 10, China's media regulator, the National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), announced the production of approximately 100 outstanding micro-drama series to align with the surging trend. Themed "Traveling with Micro-Dramas," the broadcast of this series later in 2024 will cover a range of topics such as China's significant archaeological projects in recent years, historical and cultural landmarks, and famous ancient Chinese towns and villages. The aim is to vividly narrate the origin and cultural inheritance of Chinese civilization, according to NRTA.

Additionally, micro-dramas for the Spring Festival season will be introduced. Shi Wenxue, a film critic and judge with the Beijing International Film Festival, told the Global Times that promoting films on short video platforms could attract more users to theaters, creating a new "incremental market."

Chinese micro-drama platforms have witnessed rapid international development. The overseas expansion of micro-dramas has already generated significant interest. Webnovel, a Chinese online literature platform that has excelled in the interactive novel business abroad, launched a short drama app called ReelShort overseas in August 2022. The successful localization of this platform has resonated with overseas audiences, particularly in English-speaking countries heavily influenced by Hollywood.