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The more Pei Qian thought about it, the stranger it seemed. He quickly called Huang Sibo.
There might have been a mole, and the deal could not be undone. However, Pei Qian still could not stop himself from asking.
Even if he was to die, he had to find out the cause!
“Hello? Boss Pei?”
Huang Sibo sounded rushed and busy.
Pei Qian decided not to waste his time and to cut straight to the chase. “Who was in charge of the film’s publicity?”.
Huang Sibo was stunned. “Huh? Shenhua Film. Didn’t Boss Lin tell you about it?”
With a ‘plop’, Pei Qian dropped the phone call.
Huang Sibo looked at his cell phone screen, lost.
“How strange. Wasn’t Boss Pei the one who had asked Boss Lin’s Shenhua Film to help out with the movie’s publicity?”
After hanging up, Pei Qian immediately called Lin Chang.
“Hello? Boss Pei, what’s the matter? The movie is only premiering tomorrow, right?”
Pei Qian’s heart thudded as he heard Lin Chang’s words.
Indeed, this fellow was responsible!
Pei Qian tried to suppress his pain as he said, “Did you use Shenhua Film’s resources to help with Tomorrow is Beautiful’s publicity?”.
At the other end of the line, Lin Chang paused and then smiled. “That’s right, Boss Pei. Did you find out? Aiya, I wanted to give you a surprise on the day of the movie’s premiere.
“Don’t worry about it, Boss Pei. I didn’t spend too much money. I only used some of my spare funds to make something happen. It’s no big deal, no big deal at all.” Pei Qian was so enraged that he couldn’t even speak.
Listen to this! Is that something a human would say?! He didn’t spend too much money? He only used some of his spare funds to make something happen?!
How did you get me a row piece rate of close to forty percent with that?!
Lin Chang realized that Boss Pei had not given him any response. Thinking that the latter was moved, he quickly said, “It’s true! I’m just returning the favor. Boss Pei, please don’t take it to heart.
“What’s more, the subsequent row piece rate would depend on the movie’s occupancy rate and reputation. It might not remain above thirty percent.
“Of course, a film that Boss Pei has invested in would be exciting for sure. I’m just giving your film a little push.
“Boss Pei, if you really feel bad, you can give me a symbolic advertising fee after your movie reaps huge profits.”
Once again, Pei Qian was speechless.
After my movie reaps huge profits?
I already have one foot in my grave! Don’t you think it’s a bit too late to try and make it up to me?!
Pei Qian listlessly asked, “Who told you about the movie…?”
Lin Chang laughed. “What? Boss Pei, are you going to thank him face to face? I don’t think there’s a need. It’s no secret that Fei Huang Workspace has been working on a movie. I just had to ask around.
“All in all, you don’t have to worry too much about it, Boss Pei. As long as you settle Ah Wan, what would this little bit of publicity resources count for?
“Once Ah Wan comes home, I’ll help you advertise every single film you make in the future, Boss Pei!” Once again, Pei Qian was speechless.
If you keep going on about this, Lin Wan will never make it back to the Lin Family!
Pei Qian finally understood what had happened. Obviously, Lin Chang had misunderstood him and ‘lent a helping hand’ of his own accord, to thank Pei Qian for trying to persuade Lin Wan to leave the company.
Yet, Boss Pei was in pain. How is this thanking me? You’re playing me! Pei Qian sniggered. “Boss Lin, I’ll settle this with you if the film really becomes popular!”
With a ‘plop’, Pei Qian dropped the call.
Lin Chang looked at his cell phone screen, obviously shocked.
“Boss Pei is Boss Pei indeed. Even the way he thanks others is unique.” Although Lin Chang had made everything sound easy, he had had to put in a lot of work into getting such a high row piece rate.
Fortunately, the other films weren’t that interesting. That was how he managed to obtain such a high row piece rate for the premiere of Tomorrow is Beautiful.
“It looks like Ah Wan will be coming home
Lin Chang fantasized about it
February 22nd, Tuesday…
Pei Qian sneakily went to the cinema on the topmost level of Huanyu Tianjie, wanting to watch the first screening of Tomorrow is Beautiful.
Huang Sibo, Zhu Xiaoce, Lu Zhiyao, and Zhang Zuting were all not in Jingzhou. They had gone to publicize the film and meet with fans in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.
Pei Qian guessed that they were in a cinema in a big city, waiting for the first screening of the movie.
Pei Qian had sneakily come to this theater, for fear that there would be too many people in the day and he would fail to control his words and actions.
As long as he was not surrounded by people he knew, he would not lose control of himself and affect his image as Boss Pei.
Before entering the cinema, Pei Qian first looked at the shared phone booth with Modest’s painting on it. There were still people singing inside so late at night.
As he looked at Modest’s seemingly-mocking expression, Pei Qian felt his eyelid twitch. He quickly turned away and walked briskly towards the cinema. He did not want to break down even before the movie started.
He had bought tickets too late so he didn’t manage to find a good seat. He had no choice but to sit in a corner.
Still, it was not a bad seat for Pei Qian.
On one hand, he was not looking for a good experience. He only wanted to see how the film had turned out. On the other hand, Pei Qian guessed that there would be many couples in the theater. Sitting in a corner would ensure that he didn’t feel like a third wheel.
The moment he sat down, he felt speechless
A couple was seated right beside him. He had tried to avoid them, but he still failed in the end!
Pei Qian could only focus on munching his popcorn and hope that it would divert his attention from the couple beside him.
The theater was about seventy to eighty percent occupied; it was not full. For a midnight show, this was not bad. After all, this was Jingzhou and not a big city like Beijing or Shanghai.
Of course, a ‘not bad’ occupancy rate for others meant a ‘horrible’ one for Pei Qian!
“Calm down, calm down. I have to remain cool and collected.
“The people who came to watch the first screening must be hardcore fans of Lu Zhiyao. He’s one of the first-tier young actors in the country. It’s normal that he would have hardcore fans that would do that.
“The movie’s occupancy rate would surely drastically drop once all the hardcore fans have watched it.”
Pei Qian tried to encourage himself as he munched on his popcorn.
After midnight, the staff switched off all the lights in the cinema, causing it to slowly become dim.
Right at the beginning was a bunch of company logos, including Fei Huang Workspace’s and Shenhua Film’s.
The chatter in the cinema slowly quieted down. Everyone turned their attention on the big screen.
The movie had officially begun.
A montage played as the main cast was introduced and the background music played.
A fast-food meal was on the table. Crumbled pieces of paper and empty beer cans were on the ground, beside the actor’s feet. White noise was coming from a little screen broadcasting commercials.
There was a half-empty packet of crushed potato chips…
Through those shots, one could vaguely make out the sci-fi character of this film. The way the table looked, the advertisements in the house, the cramped but high-tech space… all of those things seemed to hint that this story was set in the future.
The white noise slowly became clearer. A well-produced but seemingly uninteresting variety show was playing on the screen. Someone spoke in perfect English, and subtitles appeared at the bottom of the big screen.
Lu Zhiyao was seen, sitting on the ground with his back towards the camera. He leaned against his bed, focused on his own television screen.
All of a sudden, the words ‘Quiz Results’ appeared on the screen. At the same time, the word ‘Congratulations’ and a bouquet of flowers burst out onto the screen. That meant that the male protagonist had won, and he had just earned a sum of money from the variety show.
Lu Zhiyao shouted excitedly, clenching both his fists and waving them in the air. After a short celebration, he went to the food outlet and prepared to buy a can of beer…
All of a sudden, Pei Qian realized that he had seen this scene before. After this was the beer-drinking scene!
While they had been filming this scene, Boss Pei had personally offered Lu Zhiyao some ‘guidance’ on his acting… Pei Qian’s heart sank. Why was this film revealing their trump card so soon?!
Pei Qian did not remember this being the first scene in the movie’s rough cut. Having this as the starting scene had the effect of drawing people in with the film’s strengths!
The theater was completely silent. Even the sound of people eating popcorn dissipated.
Pei Qian immediately had a bad feeling about this.
The movie looked very different from the rough cut!
Lu Zhiyao did not pick up the beer can that he had thrown out. Instead, he sat slumped onto the ground and against the bed. He hugged his knees with his arms and buried his head deeply into his arms.
This was the introduction.
The scene immediately changed. The screen no longer showed the male protagonist’s capsule but a view of the outside. After midnight, the outside world became the world of the poor. The tall buildings that stood erect and pointed to the night sky that looked like growing tombstones.
The audience could vaguely see the rooftops and balconies of the tall buildings’ penthouses. Many rich people had been eager to build their retro or vintage homes on the topmost floors of skyscrapers.
They even made sure to emit enough light at night, so that their houses continued to glow against the night sky. That way, all the poor people—who came out to walk around after midnight-could look at them with respect and admiration.
Colorful neon lights flashed at the bottom of the buildings. They looked completely different from the fairytale-like views at the top of the skyscrapers.
The faint glow of the stars and the bright neon lights on the ground seemed to be connected by luminous ‘tombstones’. The scene was absurd.
Thousands of flying cars, glowing in various colors, shuttled between the skyscrapers. They looked like shooting stars in the night sky, converging into a multi-colored river.
In contrast, poor people held their umbrellas in the drizzle and walked on the roads. They looked indifferent to everything happening above their heads. Instead, they shopped for various strange-looking, unappetizing snacks and engaged in cheap forms of entertainment, haggling over a couple of yuan. They looked like they had become used to all of this.
There was a television screen playing a program in one of the roadside shops. A poor person had gone into the outside world at the ‘wrong time’ and had ended up being severely punished. The host gave a ‘sincere warning’ to all citizens to only go outside during their respective time slots and not to break the rules.
Pei Qian had never seen this part before.
That was because most of those scenes had been created using special effects. That was where most of the funds Pei Qian had invested had gone into.
As he looked at the magnificent background and the realistic special effects, Pei Qian became increasingly nervous.
“Calm down, calm down. That’s all the special effects. It was just a couple of minutes. The rest of the film wouldn’t be that impressive.”
Once again, Pei Qian grabbed a handful of popcorn and stuffed it into his mouth, trying to calm his nerves.
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