The seating plan at Xintiandi cinema. Photograph: Shanghai Morning Post
A group of embittered singles worked together to buy up the tickets to a 7.30pm screening of Beijing Love Story, a sappy big-budget romance, at the Shanghai Xintiandi cinema, according to the Shanghai Morning Post newspaper.
In a seating chart posted online, every other seat in the cinema is marked occupied.
“Want to see a movie on Valentine’s Day?” the prank’s organiser, an internet user going by the name UP, wrote online. “Sorry, you’ll have to sit separately. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Give us singles a chance.”
UP described himself as a “computer nerd” in an anonymous interview with the newspaper, adding that he suffered a breakup late last year.
He said the prank was difficult to execute. He lacked the money to snap up enough seats, and both the cinema’s online booking system and its behind-the-counter staff rejected his requests for exclusively odd-numbered reservations.
So he turned to a group-buying website, and quickly gained an enthusiastic following.
A cinema employee told the Xi’an Daily newspaper it had decided to
sell the even-numbered seats at a steep discount.
The stunt drew mixed reviews on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblog. Some users praised it as brilliant; others called it sadistic and ill-planned.
“The dream of many singles has finally come true,” wrote one user.
“Too stupid. Won’t people just switch seats?” wrote another.