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"Twilight" faces shadowy prospects

[ 2009-12-01 11:54]     字号 [] [] []  
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Twilight descended on China's box office on Nov 25, about a year after it was screened in other countries and five days after the global release of its sequel, New Moon.

But the film is unlikely to shine like it did in the US, because of the delay and competition with other blockbusters.

"We didn't screen the film many times," New Film Association theater chain's general manager Gao Jun said.

"Many viewers consider it an old film by now."

Gao told China Daily the film earned about 100,000 yuan ($14,700) at the theater chain's 54 Beijing branches on its premiere day, while 2012 raked in about 1.4 million yuan.

An online survey by sohu.com shows that more than 88 percent of respondents have seen the film, which premiered in the US and Hong Kong last winter.

"It has been a whole year since the film's international premiere," Beijing Star City cinema's general manager Kang Xuejun said. "Most of those who buy movie tickets are hardcore fans."

As of Nov 27, the film's daily box office earnings totaled 6,000 yuan - about one-tenth of that of 2012, which has brought in about 90 percent of the recent gross.

Huaxia Film Distribution, the film's distributor in China, says the vampire story is a new genre to Chinese big screens. The box office performance of Twilight will determine whether or not the franchise's second installation is imported, the distributor added.

The showing of the first flick is unusual in that China rarely imports films with supernatural themes.

"I see it as a sign that Chinese officials are becoming more open," Kang says.

Gao points out that it has been difficult for Twilight to find a place among the slew of other flicks hitting theaters.

"November to February has long been a crowded period for Chinese filmgoers," he says.

"They have many choices, especially this year, when more than 20 films will show during the season."

Highlights include the sci-fi blockbuster District 9, produced by Peter Jackson, and Mulan (Hua Mulan), adapted from a familiar folktale and starring acclaimed Chinese star Zhao Wei. Disney's G-Force hit screens on Nov 24.

While the vampire story might not do well in Chinese theaters, the Chinese-language novels have sold 1.66 million copies since appearing on shelves last summer.

"The Twilight series was the best-selling set of translated foreign novels last year, both in single volume and series sales," says Zhou Jing, the editor of the book, published by Jieli Publishing House.

Jieli has also published Twilight: The Complete Illustrated Movie Companion, a behind-the-scenes guidebook by Mark Cotta Vaz. It hit shelves shortly before the film's China premiere. It will soon also publish the guidebook for New Moon.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

About the broadcaster:

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.