Avatar to soar at box office

08:25, January 05, 2010      

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The highly anticipated 3D film Avatar opened yesterday at midnight to some of the worst weather conditions to hit Beijing in half a century, but this did not appear to deter moviegoers.

Liu Hui, manager of Beijing's UME Huaxing International Cineplex, said her theater offers two options for moviegoers, one in 3D and the other in IMAX 3D, which offers better visual impact.

"For the midnight premiere, we were at 90 percent capacity for the 3D version and 100 percent for the IMAX 3D," she said, adding that the tickets for the IMAX 3D screening sold out two days prior to opening.

The -16 C temperatures and up to 30 cm of snowfall on Sunday appeared to be more of a blessing than a burden, based on the demographic for the first day's turnout.

Due to the severe weather, local authorities closed schools yesterday, leaving many students, teachers and their parents an entire day to catch a film. And in this case, the turnout was overwhelmingly for Avatar.

According to a ticket seller at UME's Anzhen theater surnamed Gu, almost all the people who came yesterday bought tickets for Avatar.

When asked what piqued their interest in the film, most in the ticket lines for Avatar said that they were big fans of director James Cameron.

"He's a very important director in movie history," said Liu Liwen, a sophomore at the Central Academy of the Arts, who came to see a 12:30 pm show with his girlfriend. "Also, because I heard of the big budget and the 3D - I was sure it was going to be a landmark movie."

Most of Beijing's big cinemas offer a 3D experience but only two show Avatar in IMAX 3D: UME Huaxing International Cineplex and the China National Film Museum Theater.

The 3D digital effects were a major draw for those in line to purchase tickets. For many, Avatar was the first film they would watch in 3D.

"I don't know what to expect," said one woman waiting in line for Thursday's tickets at UME's Huaxing outlet. "But I can't wait."

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