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NCG Cinema shows first Mandarin-language film

October 23, 2014

Alongside A-list titles such as “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Gone Girl,” “Breakup Buddies” stands out by being the first Mandarin-language film  to be shown at NCG Cinema in Lansing.

Oct. 3, NCG Cinema was one of just 20 theaters in the U.S. to premiere the Chinese comedy.

International relations junior Minxi Gu  wrote in an email he was excited to see the movie come to Lansing.

“I have been in the states for a couple years, but before this movie, I had never seen a Chinese movie that was shown in the states as the same time in mainland China,” Gu said in an email.  “It is definitely a first-time experience for me.”

The film has been wildly successful in China. During the film’s first week in theaters, “Breakup Buddies” earned one billion Chinese yuan, equivalent to $163 million — making it the fourth movie in Chinese film history to gross more than one billion yuan in its first week, according to the China Daily.

“I was surprised that it was (being) shown in this college town,” Gu said. “This movie was all over the news in China because (of) how funny it was.”

China Lion, “Breakup Buddies” distributor, scoped out potential college towns to show the film in. According to manager at NCG Cinema Kristy Smith, China Lion may have chose to show the film in Lansing due to the large international student population.

“(China Lion) contacted us because we are the theatre next to a major university,” Smith said. “It had already opened in some markets and was doing well so we decided to bring it in.”

The movie’s release in Lansing is an indication of the potent economic role MSU’s international students, especially from China, have come to play in the area.

The Office for International Students and Scholars estimated in its 2013 report that international students as a whole spend about $250 million a year in the Lansing area, based on economic models. About 61 percent of international students are from China.

According to Deadline.com, “Breakup Buddies” is the distributor’s “biggest grossing title ever.” Locally, Gu said there was a big turnout for the movie’s premiere.

“My friends were posting this news on (the) Chinese social networking application called WeChat,” Gu said. “I noticed that the security guards were shocked at how many Chinese (students) there were.”

Although the film is targeted towards Mandarin-speaking students, english subtitles are displayed during the movie to appeal to a broader audience.

With the movie’s warm reception in Lansing, Smith hopes the theater can show more international films.

“When you get to smaller films where they only release so many amounts of prints, studios will pick which theater they want to show it at,” Smith said. “We would definitely be open to (showing international films) if it’s offered again.”

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