Earthquake epic sets new standards for Chinese cinema
Tuesday 20 July 2010
A string of hits has led Feng Xiaogang to be dubbed the "king of the box office'' in China, but this week will see that reputation put to the test with the release of the director's most ambitious project to date.
The earthquake-themed epic Aftershock (
http://www.mediaasia.com/aftershock/), which cost 135 million yuan (16 million euro) to make, will on Thursday, July 22 be simultaneously released in an unprecedented 4,500-odd cinemas across China, and is being cleverly marketed overseas at the same time, with a digitally re-mastered version set to play selected international IMAX cinemas from July 28.
For his part, Feng has been his usual supremely confident self, predicting the film will reap more than 500 million yuan (59 million euro) from the box office and deflecting criticism of an excess of product-placement - something which has had Chinese netizens up in arms - as a financial necessity if Chinese cinema is to compete with Hollywood's blockbusters.
"Like it or not, product placement is and will be an important part of the Chinese film industry,'' Feng told reporters in Beijing.
Reviews following last week's premiere of the film in the Chinese capital claimed there were at least six major product placements in the film - pushing an alcohol label, a bank, an insurance company, a mobile phone, a car and a brand of sportswear.
Feng pointed to the impact on video piracy on the Chinese film industry as another reason why such trends would become more common in Chinese film, which only recently has become a commercial concern as cinemas spring up all over the country and box office takings have, on average, doubled over each of the past three years.
"We used to be able to make money from DVD sales but it is a dead end now,'' he said.
Apart from those quibbles over product placements, however, reviews have been almost universally positive for the film, which centers on the Tangshan Earthquake that hit Hebei Province on July 28, 1976 and then follows the lives of a group of survivors.
That will be welcome news for the people at IMAX who have chosen the film to be the first-ever non-English language production to be digitally re-mastered.
"When you combine Aftershock, this amazing film he's made, with the picture and sound quality of IMAX, you get something you can't get anywhere else,'' Don Savant, IMAX senior vice-president and managing director for the Asia-Pacific, told reporters.
For details of international IMAX theatres screening Aftershock from July 28, log on to http://www.imax.com
TV reviewGrace Dent: Jimmy McGovern's new drama sheds light on sex slavery in the colonies
Eurovision 2015Australian Idol winner unveiled as representative Down Under
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Autism 'caused by genetics', study suggests
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Why you should never make assumptions about people with autism
- 4 Tourist films plane's descent just metres above packed Caribbean beach
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Fifty Shades of Grey banned by Indian censors despite sex scenes being edited out
The 9 rules every Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon had to follow are wonderfully pedantic
India's Daughter: BBC Four documentary provokes outrage on Twitter
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
The world's most beautiful libraries: Introducing Franck Bohbot's House of Books project
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ex-head of MI6: 'We shouldn't kid ourselves that Russia is on a path to democracy'
Most people think legal tax avoidance is just as wrong as illegal tax evasion, poll suggests
Nigel Farage promises Ukip will not 'stigmatise' would-be migrants – and says he wants 'everyone to speak the same language'