Fans of Chinese megastar Yang Mi are in a tizzy over the news that another Jaywalk produced drama Granting You A Warm Dawn (lit) 许你暖暖的晨光 will be helmed by their favourite actress once again. To be clear, fans are not unhappy about seeing their idol in a new show per se, they’re just worried that the actress is getting the shorter end of the stick in what has long been Jaywalk’s strategy of pairing new talents with the superstar. And fans have had it, fed up with the studio’s repeated use of the same production team and same cast in all of Yang Mi’s dramas, for using their idol as a litmus test of the market and for exploiting her star power to push their projects in the industry.
Indeed if we take a look her past dramas, it’s clear that the modus has always been to use the actress as an insurance of sorts to ensure exposure for their artists. I mean, in the uber popular Three Lives, Three Worlds, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, nine actors from the cast were from the studio; in Legend of Fuyao, there were three; and in Yang Mi’s most recent drama Storm Eye, her co-star Vin Zhang Binbinas well as Wayne Liu Ruilin and Dai Si are all from Jaywalk as well. Of the Jaywalk produced dramas, The Great Craftsman had low Douban ratings of 4.7. Negotiator and V Love which had the same director had Douban ratings of 3.4 and 4.9.
In an effort to make the studio listen, fans have staged an organised protest at an event Yang Mi was scheduled to appear in today, chanting slogans and holding up signs calling for the boycott of Jaywalk. As an actor, I’m sure Yang Mi appreciates her fans looking out for her and her personal development (one has to change environments in order to grow and thrive), but as a part owner of Jaywalk, that will also put her at odds with the company’s strategy.
As the metaphoric goose that lays the golden eggs, the actress is THE ultimate influencer and thanks to the Yang Mi touch – brands, movies, dramas, things – you name it, anything touched by the actress’s name immediately becomes mega popular. Of course the studio is eager to cash in on the actress’s popularity and her golden touch, after all it’s what draws in investors. It is a logical strategy to be honest, but one that’s sadly overused and already quite stale. People sometimes ask why fix something that ain’t broke? In this case what ain’t broke is not necessarily cutting it anymore. If Jaywalk wants to ensure the longevity of its operations in the industry, then maybe its time to change course and listen to fans.