The producers of Pure Hearts: Into Chinese Showbiz (纯洁心灵·逐梦演艺圈 chúnjié xīnlíng·zhú mèng yǎnyì quān), which received a score of 2.1 out of 10 on Douban, one of China’s most widely used review websites, are suing the platform for “faulty and irregular rating.” The case went to trial last Wednesday.
The movie’s director, Bi Zhifei 毕志飞, who served as a representative of the movie’s production company, said the issue was not the rating itself, but Douban’s behavior.
Bi contends that only one-star ratings of his movie appeared on Douban after the movie’s premiere, and that two- to five-star ratings were excluded. The movie received a 2.0 score out of a scale of 10 at that time, which Bi asserts had adverse effects on the movie’s box office prospects. Pure Hearts: Into Chinese Showbiz ended up grossing a measly 2.3 million RMB ($338,000) at the box office and was out of Chinese movie theaters after only four days.
The director concedes that while his movie is far from perfect, some fans have written to him saying that the movie should be rated higher than 2.1. According to Bi, because of Douban’s low rating, the media publicized the movie as “the worst movie ever” and the “lowest-rated movie on Douban.” This, Bi contends, has tarnished his reputation as a filmmaker, with the movie’s producers suffering severe financial losses.
In response, Douban said it did not block out or exclude any ratings of the movie on its website. It also stated that it is not responsible for the movie’s low score — such a score was the result of users, and not the website itself — nor any financial damages the movie’s producers have suffered.