Theaters across major cities in China have begun experimenting with “bullet screens,” allowing audience members to interact with films by sending text messages that are displayed directly on the big screen, according to a recent report in China Youth Daily. Great.
If listening to people close business deals on their cell phones mid-movie isn’t enough, patrons to some cinemas across China will soon have the privilege of hearing (seeing, really) other audience members’ every thought on the film in front of them thanks to the bullet screens. The system is set to be institutionalized during various movies for young people who can’t seem to fathom the thought of staying off their phones for two hours, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The inspiration behind the idea appears to be that it mimicks that of watching a movie on mobile media, which is how most Chinese people watch films, with people sending messages about what they like or dislike about the movie.
In a censored environment like China, precautions are taken to remove sensitive or forbidden words.
There are several Chinese movie websites, based on a Japanese idea of bullet screens, where viewers can spend their whole time making remarks on the film via SMS.
The experiment involves a number of theaters in China, including in Beijing and Shanghai, but also in smaller cities such as Hangzhou.
The system was tested earlier this month at a movie theater in Shandong province during a screening of the domestic 3D animated movie The Legend of Qin. The manager said that the theater was 90 percent occupied, and that patrons could send “bullet information” by text for 0.1 yuan per message.
An example of the live commenting can be seen below, in the video broadcast of Taiwanese actor Kai Ko’s confession following his arrest on drug charges along with Jaycee Chan (via The Nanfang):
Frankly it’s the opposite of something we would pay to look at, but to each his own.
[Image via The Nanfang]