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Volume 23, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1059-440X
  • E-ISSN: 2049-6710


This article will focus on the burgeoning production of low-budget feature film comedies in Mainland China. A number of these productions have achieved considerable success at the local box office since 2006. The popularity of these swiftly-produced features is the result of rapid industrialization and the increasing emphasis on genre in the Mainland China market. It also suggests a worrying trend in terms of the mass-production of films for local audiences; these films are manufactured in a rough manner with little regard for aesthetic quality or tonal consistency, leading to concerns about malformed genre product. This article outlines the definition, origins and variations of the low-budget comedies produced in China. Based on data gathered through several large-scale industry studies of the local audience, it will show that a relationship exists between the cultural mind-set of young cinemagoers and the styles of low-budget comedy films. To chart the success of this genre, and its evolution from low-budget production to mid-budget production due to consistent box office returns, the article will examine two industrially significant examples: Crazy Stone and Gao Xing. The former arguably started the genre, leading to a host of imitators, of which the latter has been particularly well-attended, despite evidencing a decline in quality as satirical humour is replaced by vulgarity. In this respect, it will be argued that the Mainland China production cycle of the low-budget comedy is an example of 'ShanZhai' culture as this is a form of commercial film-making that is largely based on imitation.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): China; Crazy Stone; Gao Xing; low-budget comedy; Mainland production
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