Yao Ming may not be living in Shanghai this summer, but his movie has just taken up residence in local theaters. The Year of the Yao, a documentary chronicling Yao’s first season in the NBA, opens in Shanghai this weekend. The Shanghai Daily says the documentary “will play at a dozen theaters in the city, including Studio City on Nanjing Road W. and the Paradise Warner in Xujiahui.” The paper goes on to say that the movie “will only be shown in cinemas with IMAX facilities.” Does Shanghai have 12 IMAX theaters? A friend of Shanghaiist said The Year of the Yao will “show at all the major cinemas from July 14” and will be shown in English with Chinese subtitles. We suggest you check your local theater to be sure.
The movie had its China premiere Thursday in Beijing. Although Yao is currently in Beijing for a basketball camp, he was unable to attend the showing. He did, however, have this to say: “I recommend all my fans watch it. In China, you don’t look back on your life until you are into 50s or 60s. But the producers argued that it made sense to document a very special chapter in my life when the memories of it are still fresh.”
The Year of the Yao hit American theaters in April in a limited release. Despite decent reviews the movie has made little more that $30,000 at the box office, which is likely less than Yao has in his left pocket at this exact moment. From the makers of Michael Jordan to the Max, some critics say the movie, while fun, buys too much into the NBA spin of Yao Ming the product and barely scratches the surface of Yao Ming the man.
You can watch a trailer for the movie at the Apple site and the movie’s official website has some decent time-wasters — like a Yao Ming puzzle!