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Forgotten in the West, Drive-In Movie Theatre Finds New Life in China

Posted: 10/28/2014 10:00 am

dongguan drive in theater 01While the humble drive-in theatre has slowly faded away in the United States, it is taking on a new life in the People’s Republic. The Chinese love affair with the automobile has blossomed into booming business for Dongguan’s very first drive-in movie theatre.

The Huawei Four-Way Drive-In Theatre offers three new releases every night of the week from 7pm until 1am. For RMB 150 per vehicle, you can enjoy watching movies on the theatre’s 8 by 16 meter screen in the comfort of their own car.

dongguan drive in theater 01Though the theatre does not feature trendy 3D movies, the drive-in has proven to be very popular with local residents. Eager crowds have continued to queue since the theatre officially opened a week ago Monday.

As with a traditional drive-in, the film’s audio is broadcast via car radio. In a move to help the local environment, an air conditioning distribution system delivers cool air to each car, taking away the need to keep engines running.

dongguan drive in theaterRelated:

Photos: Dongguan Times


Free Education and a Popular Romcom Lead to Chinese Baby Boom in America

Posted: 10/14/2014 3:47 pm
finding mr right tang wei

Tang Wei’s pregnant character arrives in Seattle, USA at the beginning of “Finding Mr Right”.

Expectant mothers in China are hopping onto airplanes in ever larger numbers to give birth abroad, and it’s not set to slow down anytime soon. What is it that lures would-be parents to foreign lands? Clean water? Clean air? Those surely help, but there is one key factor that trumps everything else: the enormous savings associated with being enrolled in a “free” education system.

According to Worldwide magazine, about 600 Chinese mothers went abroad to give birth in 2007, growing to 5,000 in 2010 and over 10,000 in 2012. That doubled again to 20,000 in 2013, and is expected to hit anywhere between 50,000 and 60,000 in 2015, according to the Mother-Child Management Association.

The primary destination for new parents is now the United States after Hong Kong introduced limits on Mainland parents giving birth in the territory. One person told the magazine:

On any given flight going to the USA (from China), there is likely to be five pregnant Chinese women. In any given neighborhood of prosperous cities like Beijing and Shanghai, there is likely to be several expectant mothers going to the US to give birth to their baby.

Aside from access to free primary education, Chinese parents also consider how much money they will save by having their child attend a US school as a “US citizen” instead as a “foreign exchange student”.

finding mr right tang wei

Tang Wei in a wedding dress in a scene that isn’t her wedding from “Finding Mr Right”.

A child with US citizenship enrolled in the US education system will save a Chinese parent a total of $600,000, the report said. The savings continue to rack up as the child continues to post-secondary education. If we use public colleges in California as an example, an exchange student will pay $12,000 in annual tuition while a “US citizen” will pay just $2,000. Therefore, the Chinese parent will be able to save $300,000 over four years of college.

Intermediary consultancies advertise by saying a baby with US citizenship is a financial windfall:

Give me RMB 100,000, and I’ll give you a US baby worth RMB 9.8 million

finding mr right tang weiLast year, a romcom featuring Tang Wei called Finding Mr Right (or its Chinese name, Beijing Meets Seattle) featured a Chinese parent having babies abroad and using the private maternity facilities available. Afterwards, intermediary consultancies reported a huge spike in business with clients referencing the movie when they called.

Meanwhile, Seattle has experienced a huge upsurge in Chinese tourists as a result of the film. Tom Norwalk of Visit Seattle, an organization that promotes Seattle tourism, said Finding Mr Right “has captivated a younger generation in China, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.” Norwalk also said more young Chinese women are visiting Seattle.

Traveling may be expensive, but the investment may pay huge dividends if children are born in America.

finding mr right tang weiPhoto: Seattle Globalist, Screen Daily, Yellow Cranes Tower, Wikipedia


Cinemas In China Allowing Audiences to Type Comments Into Phone, Appear on Screen During The Film

Posted: 08/19/2014 2:17 pm

live commenting movie screen

Many like to think of the cinema as a place that lets their mind wander; something that takes them to different worlds and lets their imagination run wild. In order to do that, you need peace and quiet — which is why cinemas provide advertisements reminding guests to turn off their phones and avoid taking during the film.

Some cinemas in China, however, are going in the complete opposite direction. Chinese audiences aren’t only encouraged to complain about the movie they are watching, but share their comments with the rest of the audience—by having them projected on the movie screen.

Theaters in Beijing and Shanghai have begun experimenting with a live commenting system through which audiences can share a comment by sending a text message from their phone, reports Sohu Entertainment. Messages are then projected directly on the screen over the film, or onto an adjacent screen.

live commenting movie screen danmu

The Legend of Qin is an animated film that has tried the new feature in 50 theaters in Beijing and Shanghai since it was released on August 8. Shen Leping, the film’s director, is very enthusiastic about it, saying:

We are exploring how the response from the audience can affect the movie itself… We are, in fact, putting the director and viewer on equal terms and I think many of the opinions of the viewers are very helpful for film makers.

The screenings that feature live commenting predominantly feature young audiences, 80% of whom are 24 years old or younger. This demographic is more familiar with live commenting, which is already used online. Called danmu, or “bullet screen” for the way words scroll from left to right like bullets, live commenting on videos puts user content on equal terms with the video content. Originating from Japan, two Chinese websites that have popularized the danmu are ACFun and Bilibala.

To give you a taste of what this experience is like, here’s a video (below) with live commenting enabled. The video shows a video-taped confession of Taiwanese actor Kai Ko, who was arrested on drug charges along with Jaycee Chan. Screenshots are first provided, and then with a video clip below.

live commenting movie screen danmulive commenting movie screen danmu

Having moved from the internet and onto the silver screen, audiences can use the live commenting system to bring their own snark and sarcasm as they enjoy watching a movie through the interface of their own phone.

Photos: Sohu EntertainmentCCTV English


Weekend Gallery: Humungous Marilyn Monroe Statue Taken to The Dump

Posted: 06/21/2014 11:28 am

marilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangxi

The Seven Meter Itch: on June 18, an enormous statue of Marilyn Monroe was dismantled in Guigang, Guangxi Province and taken to a garbage dump after only having been on public display for six months, reports Caijing.

The original intention of the statue was to attract international business as well as to serve as a local landmark. The statue became a romantic destination for dating and married couples wanting to take pictures with a gigantic Marilyn Monroe.

A professor from South China Normal University had led a group that created the statue, referencing a still from the movie Seven Year Itch as well the statue Forever Marilyn, a similar statue of Marilyn Monroe that once stood in Chicago. The statue took two years to build and was erected in Guiyang’s “Chinatown”.

Made of stainless steel, the statue weighs eight tons and is actually 8.18 meters high, taller than Forever Marilyn.

Over in the USA, Forever Marilyn has been intensely criticized for being provocative and for being “laden with political meaning”. Now moved to Palm Springs, California, Forever Marilyn has been vandalized and named the “worst piece of public art in the world” by

There was no reason provided in the report as for the sudden dismantling of the statue in Guigang, but then, beautiful women don’t often know the reason why they are being dumped.

marilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangximarilyn monroe statue giant guigang guangxi


Photos: Caijing


Here are Your 2014 Summer Blockbusters, China Edition

Posted: 06/1/2014 5:30 pm

summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chineseGet out your wallets, adjust your 3D glasses, grab a date—the 2014 summer blockbuster season is well under way.

This year’s crop has already begun showing at local Chinese theaters, but there are still many movies to come despite a truncated schedule.

Expats in China looking for Hollywood movies won’t be able to watch a whole bunch of films including Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Lucy, 22 Jump Street, and Blended. Furthermore, audiences in China may face “after-market alterations” that have been seen in local showings of Mission Impossible 3, Transformers 2, and Skyfall.

All the same, here is the line-up for Hollywood blockbusters this summer. Note that some release dates are still unconfirmed and may be changed.

We’re sure that you’re more than familiar with many of these films, as many of them are sequels with massive promotional campaigns to support them, so instead we’re going to offer our opinions on how these films will fare in the Chinese market.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2—already playingsummer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese No one in China objected to the removal of the line “With great power comes great responsibility” just as no one will mind that this is the second Spider-Man movie to come out in recent history with a “2″ beside it. Decent box office.

X-Men: Days of Future Past—May 23, a day in the distant pastsummer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing shows up in a short cameo, but for a Western movie to properly pander to a Chinese audience, you’ll need to cast her as a nurse in scenes that are completely cut out of the international release as seen in Iron Man 2. This film will do alright, but really needed Wolverine to show up at a Chinese school and show his approval for doting Chinese students dressed with red scarves.

Godzilla—June 13 US release, no China date yet

summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

Japan… destroyed… by a manifestation of its own hubris? A film with such a premise should ideally go gangbusters in China, but Chinese audiences will likely get confused with a Japanese lead actor who isn’t wearing a Hitler mustache and barking orders with a sword. No deal.

Edge of Tomorrow—June 6

A story in which a character cannot move forward in time, but instead is forced to relive the same events over and over until he gets it right? On this day? Chinese audiences aren’t interested in such an impossibly fictional story with no basis in reality.

summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

How to Train Your Dragon 2—June 13

Did you know that Chinese people are descended from dragons? No dice for this film.

Grace of Monaco—June 20

A beautiful woman with a mysterious persona tries to make her way through the world facing public tribulations and personal setbacks. Should do just fine.

Maleficient—June 20summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

A beautiful woman with a mysterious persona tries to make her way through the world facing public tribulations and personal setbacks. Should do just fine as well.summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

Transformers: Age of Extinction—June 27summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

This is your box office champion for foreign films this year, bar none. And this film will be hyped beyond measure: Michael Bay was savvy enough to promote the last Transformers sequel by loudly admitting he had studied Chinese history in school, a tactic bested only recently by Johnny Depp who unveiled a Chinese tattoo during the Chinese promotional tour for Transcendence.

This new Transformers sequel is targeting a Chinese audience with specific in-film promotions, using settings in China, and by releasing numerous Chinese promotional materials, something that other summer films can’t say. The blurry action and huge explosions will obliterate any concerns of American troops kicking giant robot ass on Chinese soil.

Here are some Chinese posters:

summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinesesummer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinesesummer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinesesummer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinesesummer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes—July 11summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

Worst. Journey. To. The. West. Reboot. Ever.

Jupiter Rising—July 18summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

We should always expect offerings from the Wachowski siblings to be imaginative, but it’s weird that there has been little hype for this film. Look for it to be mostly ignored by Chinese audiences who won’t know a thing about it. It doesn’t bode well for your film when promotional materials cut off the title.

Hercules—July 25summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

That fire looks to be a little close, and now we can all smell what the Rock is cooking. Won’t be a draw for Chinese audiences.

Guardians of the Galaxy—August 1summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

We are absolutely in giddy anticipation for these “bunch of a-holes”. This film should still do well in China despite the many subversive elements lost on a Chinese audience (Hey, is that an animated animal with a gun adjusting his junk in the trailer? Must be a Marvel movie).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—Aug 8summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

Not dignified enough to be an animal belonging to the Chinese zodiac, turtles are a terribly unlucky animal in China, something that will compounded by the titular characters of this new gritty reboot having lips. We’ll see if Megan Fox will be enough to counter-balance the repulsive elements of this film.

Expendables 3—Aug 15summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

The nostalgia factor is not likely going to be high for a Chinese audience; neither will the stunt casting of Mel Gibson and Wesley Snipes. Respectable box office, but will have a luke-warm response.

Bonus: Tiny Times 3—July 17summer movies films blockbuster 2014 china chinese

Not a Hollywood blockbuster, but a domestic film you will enjoy if you hate life and enjoy contradictions and superficiality.

Photos: Weibo (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), MSN

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