LOS ANGELES, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese youth drama film "Better Days," which opened Friday in limited theatrical release in North America, may strike a chord among audiences concerned about the healthy development of teenagers and the problem of bullying at school.
"Better Days" was released by Well Go USA Entertainment in Mandarin with English subtitles in selected theaters in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and a few other major cities across the United States and Canada.
Starring actress Zhou Dongyu and the boy band TFBoys' member Jackson Yee, the film by Hong Kong director Derek Kwok-Cheung Tsang puts the spotlight on school bullying. In the film, Chinese girl Chen Nian, who is single-mindedly preparing for the national college entrance exam, becomes a target of relentless bullying and then forms a strong friendship with small-time criminal Xiao Bei; the two are dragged into a murder case of a teenage girl where they are the prime suspects.
"Better Days" has been a box-office hit in the Chinese mainland, grossing more than 1.29 billion yuan (about 184 million U.S. dollars) over the past 15 days, according to the Chinese film database Maoyan. The film currently boasts a 9.5 out of 10 user rating on the Maoyan platform, averaged from 1.27 million viewers.
Derek Kwok-Cheung Tsang exposes "the dark world of bullying and societal pressures of achievement facing today's youth," explained Well Go USA on the film's official website.
Well Go USA Entertainment is a theatrical and home entertainment distribution label specialized in bringing top Asian films to North American markets.
"I definitely feel American moviegoers would enjoy this film as its message is socially relevant in American culture," said Jason Pfardrescher, executive vice president of Well Go USA, adding that it's possible for the film to cross over to a mainstream audience though the marketing is geared toward the Chinese diaspora in North America.
"We have very high hopes for the domestic box office and advance tickets sales are going very well," he said.
AMC Theater's online ticket reservation system shows a capacity crowd with few seats remaining for Friday evening in some theaters in New York and Los Angeles.
On the U.S. website IMDB.com, the movie has a score of 7.3 out of 10, averaged from 316 viewers, to date.
IMDB user "jole-9988" praised the performance of Zhou and Yee, noting that there were many touching and impressive scenes in the movie.
"I hope there is no more campus violence and everyone who had experienced or is experiencing campus violence can still have the hope of better days, and everyone who witness the campus violence can stand up and stop the violence bravely," wrote the user.