The box office exceeded 100 million yuan on the first day of release, 1.2 billion yuan 7 days later, and 2.6 billion yuan 14 days later... Lost in the Stars, a Chinese suspense movie, became a "dark horse" at the box office. It is worth mentioning that the box office success of Lost in the Stars has boosted the sales of spin-offs. The total crowdfunding value of the movie's spin-offs has exceeded 150,000 yuan.
Spin-offs are a gold mine in the movie market. In China, movie spin-offs have been developed with palpable progress already made. The crowdfunding value of three spin-offs of the Chinese movie The Wandering Earth II released in the Spring Festival this year had exceeded 120 million yuan, easily blowing over the planned target of 100,000 yuan by over 1,000 times and setting a new record for crowdfunded spin-offs of domestic movies.
New genre of movies
Lost in the Stars is a suspense movie directed by Cui Rui and Liu Xiang, adapted from the former Soviet movie A Trap for the Lonely Man. Since its release on June 22, the movie has fared excellently in terms of the box office and audience comments.
In 2021, Chen Sicheng, producer and screenwriter of Lost in the Stars, sent the script to Cui Rui, who was deeply attracted by the various reversals and diverse characters in the script. The filming of Lost in the Stars began in Hainan in December of the same year. In an interview with the reporter, Cui Rui said that many excellent suspense movie works have emerged in recent years while the audience have been becoming smarter as well. He said that the process of making a suspense movie is also a process of pitting your wits against the audience. To this end, in the course of filmmaking, he paid special attention to the control of the rhythm, hoping to allow the audience to guess the answer in advance when they are about to figure it out, and at the same time usher them into another suspense.
Lost in the Stars is different from many suspense movies, which usually emanate a dreary, depressed atmosphere. Cui Rui said that unlike previous suspense movies that are filled with cold and low-saturation colors, this movie uses bright and contrasting colors as a whole. He hoped that such use of colors would set off and contrast the core of the story, highlighting the color of the story and creating a stronger sense of suspense.
Popular development of spin-offs
Lost in the Stars' triumph at the box office also promoted the sales of spin-offs. Many categories of official spin-offs of Lost in the Stars are available on the "Zao Dian Xin Huo" crowdfunding platform. Official spin-offs were launched at the platform, including the same-type T-shirts worn by the stars, throw pillows, commemorative postcards, tattoo stickers, canvas bags, metal badges, commemorative stubs of movie tickets, which proved to be good buys for consumers.
Beijing Magic Land Animation Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as Magic Land) is a company authorized to produce the spin-offs of Lost in the Stars as well as an IP operation company. It has previously developed spin-offs of many well-known IPs such as "Sad Frog", "Ali the fox" and "Luo Xiaohei". In recent years, Magic Land stepped into the movie spin-offs business. In July 2022, Magic Land collaborated with Light Chaser Animation to unveil the spin-off crowdfunding project of New Gods: Yang Jian, which fetched one million yuan from online and offline sales. Some popular products were preordered long before the online release. The actual sales far exceeded the expected target.
Li Yue, commercial director of Magic Land, said in an interview with our staff reporter that they began the project evaluation of the movie Lost in the Stars as early as January this year. The current spin-offs are the results of rounds of screening and half-year research and development.
In recent years, China has paid increasing attention to the development of movie spin-offs. According to the 14th Five-Year Plan for China's Movie Development from China Film Administration in 2021, in the next five years, China will bring diversity to the movie market, such as promoting the development and licensing of movie spin-offs, and promoting the integrated development of movies with games, tourism, etc.
China's movie spin-off market has broad prospects, and it needs to be fully tapped by movie companies. An executive from Fantawild (Shenzhen) Animation Co., Ltd. told our staff reporter that when the brand Boonie Bears was launched in 2012, the company set up an authorization team to study the market. For each movie, the company selected one or two high-quality products, which were launched simultaneously with the movie release. Great care was taken to protect the IPRs of the products. In his eyes, to develop movie spin-offs, it is necessary to analyze both the movie and the market, and select the appropriate products that can tie the audience's emotions with the movie. In parallel, it is necessary to give consideration to both "salable products" and "trendy products", and place a value on product quality and details. Moreover, it is necessary to open up new channels. For example, Boonie Bears spin-offs are not only sold at e-commerce platforms, but are also promoted through Douyin, Xiaohongshu, etc., so that brands can reach more people and we can learn more about consumer needs in preparation for the development of new products.
Upcoming movies are Creation of The Gods I, Chang An, Meg 2: The Trench and so on, and the development of their movie spin-offs are also in the spotlight. We look forward to greater achievements in the Chinese movie market.