Chinese audience protests Jason Bourne 3D movie

By Shan Jie and Huang Tingting Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/26 0:28:39

Lack of choice seen as exploitation of Chinese cinema market


A group of filmgoers show their phone screens with a message that reads, "refund our tickets," in protest against a Jason Bourne 3D screening at a Beijing cinema on Thursday. Photo: Li Hao/GT



Many Chinese fans of the Jason Bourne franchise said they feel exploited by the producers because over 90 percent of the latest film was done in 3D, which forced them to buy more expensive tickets.

The film, the fifth of the Jason Bourne series, has been heavily criticized two days after its release in China on Tuesday. The movie was slammed for its dizzying 3D effects, with many viewers saying the movie was not suitable for a 2D-to-3D adaption due to the film's violently shaking cinematography, thanks to director Paul Greengrass' hand-held camera-shooting style.

What further irritated Chinese audiences, especially Jason Bourne fans, was the 3D version appears to be their only choice.

According to The Beijing News, only 8 of 149 movie theaters in Beijing provided the 2D version as of Thursday.

In Shanghai, it was 9 of 174, and the theaters with the 2D version are either located in remote areas or screen the film early in the morning or late at night.

Odeon Cinemas, one of the biggest cinema chains in the UK, only offers the film's 2D version, according to its website.

Jason Bourne fan Zhou Yuchen on Thursday organized a protest with 30 other people against the 3D version, demanding a refund in a cinema in Chaoyang district, Beijing on Thursday.

"The 3D version is a rip-off. It's been happening many times in China and must be stopped," Zhou told the Global Times on Thursday, adding that he would organize similar protests online.

The Universal Pictures' China branch on Wednesday posted a notice on its official Sina Weibo account, saying that the company is working on adding more screenings for the 2D version.

Liu Hui, the deputy manager of Beijing-based UME Cineplex, said that they received the 2D version's encryption key Wednesday night, and would add more screenings or replace the scheduled 3D ones, China National Radio (CNR) reported on Wednesday.

The Jason Bourne series, which began in 2002 starring Matt Damon, is a story about a former CIA operative who uncovers explosive truths about his past.  US box office sales of the latest film have reached $142,678,470 from July 18-August 23, according to the website of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

3D incentive

Even if 2D-turned-3D films are nothing new to Chinese moviegoers, an "exclusive 3D edition for China cinemas" is probably still strange to most. It refers to movies filmed in 2D that are turned into 3D exclusively for Chinese cinemas while providing original versions in other countries and regions.

"If you think of a movie as a cake, the 3D version is what makes it bigger, which would benefit every participant," an anonymous film industry expert told the Global Times on Thursday.

The average price for a 2D movie ticket in China is 30 yuan ($4.50), while the price for the 3D version is twice as much.

"Cinemas were totally hijacked by the producers this time, because as long as the cinemas were capable of screening the 3D version, they were not given the encryption key for the 2D version," Shi Wenxue, a Beijing-based film critic, told the Global Times on Thursday.

"The 3D version is often encouraged in China as the country considers it a technological advancement.  But it's often exploited," Shi Wenxue added.

According to a 2012 notice on domestic high-tech movies by a funds committee of the country's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, domestic movies capable of being screened in 3D or on iMax stand to receive a subsidy of from 1 million to 10 million yuan.

Before Jason Bourne, recent Hollywood movies including Fast and Furious 7, Transcendence and Robocop were also shown in 3D in China. Despite the presence of foreign-made blockbusters, domestic films, such as the latest Cold War, also aim for a share of the pie.

"However, 3D movies like Avatar were filmed using 3D technology, while 2D-turned-3D ones rely on post-production," Shi Yedong, author of the widely circulated article, Who forces us to watch 3D Movies, and a journalist at the movie-focused We Media platform Yiyuguancha, told the Global Times.

Moviegoers demand refund at a cinema in Beijing on Thursday. They felt sick while watching the Jason Bourne film with 3D glasses. Photo: Li Hao/GT


 

Moviegoers demand refund at a cinema in Beijing on Thursday. They felt sick while watching the Jason Bourne film with 3D glasses. Photo: Li Hao/GT


 

Moviegoers demand refund at a cinema in Beijing on Thursday. They felt sick while watching the Jason Bourne film with 3D glasses. Photo: Li Hao/GT



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