Avatar to soar at box office (2)

08:25, January 05, 2010      

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Cameron attended a promotional event for the film in Beijing on Dec 23 that catered specifically to the Chinese press. Heavy promotion across the country for Avatar, which included websites, magazines and television, seems to have had the desired effect.

"After seeing previews of the show on TV, I knew I wanted to see it," said Zhao Yang at UME's Anzhen location yesterday afternoon.

The Canadian-American director is best-known for directing Terminators I and II and Titanic, which grossed 360 million yuan ($52.7 million) at the Chinese box office in 1998, a record that was broken by Transformers II 10 years later.

The Transformers sequel, which earned 400 million yuan, was topped by 2012, which made 460 million yuan when it screened late last year.

"But one thing people should also consider is that this movie has special requirements," Liu explained. "It's in 3D so it's shown in fewer theaters."

"However, this time of the year is really advantageous because of the upcoming Spring Festival," she said.

Liu, who has experienced the mania for both Transformers and 2012 at her theater, is optimistic about Avatar's potential. "I think Avatar will probably reach 500 million yuan."

Weng Li, spokesperson for China Film Group Corporation, was also upbeat about the overall performance of Avatar.

"The movie will create a box office record of 500 million yuan easily," he was quoted as saying by Sina.com yesterday.

UME Huaxing's box office earnings for Avatar have so far reached 450,000 yuan, which includes sales for both yesterday and today.

"And that's just one theater and only two days," she said, enthusiastically. "I mean, we're pre-selling tickets for Thursday as we speak."

In the past two months, there has been a 20-percent increase in 3D screens across the country, which has taken the number to 700 nationwide, according to Weng.

But there are only 11 cinemas nationwide that have IMAX 3D screens, which are located in big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Wuhan and Changsha, according to Hangzhou-based Qianjiang Evening News.

Source: China Daily
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