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Cover Stories Series 2013> Chinese Movies Threatened by Hollywood> Archive
UPDATED: April 27, 2012 NO. 18 MAY 3, 2012
Classic Movie, New Success
Titanic 3D brings back memories of a generation
By Yu Yan

WORDS OF WISDOM: James Cameron delivers a speech at the Sino-Foreign Film Cooperation Forum held on April 24 at the sidelines of the Second Beijing International Film Festival (April 23-28) (LUO XIAOGUANG)

In the late 1990s, China began to bring in large-scale and big-budget movies. Titanic, one of the first few Hollywood blockbusters introduced to the Chinese market, shocked and amazed the Chinese audience.

Potential market

Actually, the surge at the box office owes to the second- and third-tier cities.

"When the old Titanic was shown, I couldn't afford to go to the cinema as I was a high school student. I just watched the movie on DVD," said He Feng, an engineer at an IT company in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province.

At that time, the Chinese people didn't go to the cinemas so often, especially in the second- and third-tier cities, because their salary was lower than that of their urban peers and their consumption habits didn't allow them to indulge in movies once in a while.

"This time, I went to the cinema. The big screen and the state-of-the-art 3D technology made the film a visual feast," said He. But He also complained that watching a movie for three hours with a pair of 3D glasses on the nose was a little unbearable.

In fact, a large number of the Chinese people didn't watch the original movie in cinemas. They just watched it on DVD or on TV after the movie was publicly shown.

"The love story in Titanic serves as emotional sustenance for many of the Chinese audience," said Gao Jun, Board Chairman of Beijing Shengshi Huarui Film Investment and Management Co. Ltd.

"Against the backdrop of rapid economic development, the audience needed this badly. We can feel the audience's desire for emotional sustenance from the Chinese movie Love Is Not Blind," said Gao.

Love Is Not Blind was a low-budget and domestic romantic comedy movie. It opened in November of 2011 and made a profit amounting to 200 million yuan ($32 million) after being shown for only one week.

Technology charm

The 3D technology is a highlight of the new movie compared with the old version. Many people went to the cinema to watch the movie again, just to experience the 3D effects.

"Although I watched the movie many years ago, I wanted to experience the new 3D audio-visual effects. It was a disaster movie and should be more impressive with the 3D technology," said Lu.

For the young people born after 1985, the 3D-version Titanic was a totally new movie and gave them a brand-new experience, said Gao.

"I think the film holds up pretty darn well. In 3D, it becomes kind of a new experience. It's a much more intimate and involving experience both with the characters and with the physical space," said Cameron.

The Titanic 3D was a recreation instead of new project. Every shot of the movie was redesigned. The production took more than 300 engineers more than a year to complete. And it cost more than $18 million, said Cameron.

In recent years, the demand for 3D movies has been on the rise. Producers of big-budget movies, for instance, Clash of the Titans, Transformers, Alice in Wonderland and Kung Fu Panda, all chose to transform the movie into 3D version so as to attract the audience.

However, not all movies are suitable for 3D technology, said Li Sida, new media design professor at the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology.

Movies that emphasize audio-visual effects are more suitable for 3D technology, for instance, action movies, science fiction movies, disaster movies, and horror movies, said Li. But it is unnecessary to apply 3D technology to movies with weak visual impacts, including romance movies and art movies.

Email us at: yuyan@bjreview.com

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