So in case you hadn’t noticed, there’s this super popular movie in town and its name is Avatar. Though we knew Avatar had a great chance of doing well at the box office, even we were a little surprised by exactly how crazy the crowds for it were.
The movie’s on its way to break all box office records on the heels of an already box office record breaking year: It raked in 33 million RMB its opening weekend and was already past the 100 million mark by Thursday, say insiders.
But what’s making it so popular? It seems Chinese director Lu Chuan, who most recently brought us the excellent City of Life and Death had one idea as he called the movie a “complete defeat” for all Chinese filmmakers:
Lu wrote on his blog of the spiritual splendor of the film’s storyline, beyond its visual spectacle. “Avatar made me realize that what we lack is not technology – we can learn technology,” he wrote.
“I suddenly realized how far away our films are from simple beauty, crystal-clear purity and passionate dreams. We Chinese filmmakers should be ashamed of being far from sincerity and being embroiled in a carnival of twisted, dim and absurd vulgarity.”
Yeesh, don’t kill yourself over it, Lu. After our viewing over the weekend, we’re thinking that, despite whatever connections Chinese people might be drawing between the “evil humans” and “Chinese real estate developers (the Na’vi therefore are the poor people being pushed out of their homes), it’s probably not the plot. Really, it’s Pocahontas in Space. Or even more so, Fern Gully… in Space. In 3D. Or if you’re lucky, IMAX 3D.
Speaking of which, here’s a tip: Unless you’re willing to get there at three in the morning to wait in line until the Peace Cinema theater (和平影都) off People’s Square (which contains the only IMAX in town) opens, don’t count on watching it in IMAX. If you want to watch IMAX in friends, be prepared to have them come with you. Starting from today, each person in line is only allowed to get two tickets max and they’ll be costing more: 180RMB a pop (oh no wait, it’s back down to 150RMB). That would make them some of the most expensive Avatar IMAX tickets in the world
As for regular 3D, if you want a good chance of choosing your seats, make a trip to the theater the day before. If you go the day of though, prepare to be disappointed – we’d say the last seat usually sells out about two hours before showing.
Watch it here: Peace Cinema, 290 Xizang Zhong Lu, near Hankou Lu 西藏中路290号 近汉口路. Website: www.shdgm.com. Or, if you’re fine with just 3D, here’s a list of all the places it’s showing in Shanghai.
The video is of the line for Avatar in People’s Square. Youku’s put up a page dedicated to lines for Avatar all over China if you’re into that kind of thing.