Chinese filmmakers join the rush for 3D films

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The Independent Culture

Spurred on by the massive box office returns enjoyed the likes of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, Chinese filmmakers are now vowing to join the 3D revolution that is sweeping cinema all around the world.

Mainland China's largest studio - the state-run China Film Group Corporation - at the weekend announced it had two animated 3D projects on the go and was considering live action films at the same time, although it refused to divulge specifics to the media.

However what is known is that Chinese director Feng Xiaogang - regarded as the king of the Chinese box office thanks to a string of feel-good hits such as If You Are the One and the war-time drama The Assembly - has decided to turn to 3D with his latest production, The Tangshan Earthquake.

The canny director - who hopes to have the film ready for a July 28 release - plans to have his tale of the 1976 earthquake that devastated northern China released for IMAX cinemas as well.

Avatar returned box office receipts of 1.3 billion yuan (140 million euros) during its run in mainland China, while Alice has taken 168.6 million yuan (18.2 million euros) in its first 12 days.

Those films have taken the total of 3D productions screened in China so far to 10 - and the country now has around 1,100 3D screens, or about one third of its total.

Chinese audiences were recently treated to the "first'' 3D kung fu film' - True Legend - which was directed by Yuen Woo Ping, the man who handled the action sequences in the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Despite the fact that it was mauled by critics and barely made a mark on the local box office, other Hong Kong-based Chinese filmmakers are like Yuen now also trying their hands at the genre.

Wong Jing - famous in Asia for his low-brow comedies - is busy promoting the "first'' Chinese 3D comedy, The King of Jesters, which is set for a release in the summer.

Meanwhile a 3D Chinese version of Spain's Don Quixote is being produced by Hong Kong's Filmko studio and is slated for an August release in mainland China.

The company is also putting together an 180 million yuan (19 million euro) retelling of The Monkey King, the oft-told story based on China's most popular piece of ancient literature, Journey to the West, which was penned in the 1590s. It has been scheduled for release at the end of the year.