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《变4》在中国掀起的吸金潮如何应对?

2014-07-08    来源:chinadaily    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

It's all about making a spectacle

The new Transformers movie is breaking records left and right, but not everyone is happy about it.

Transformers: Age of Extinction, which opened in China on June 27, has been making waves at the Chinese box office. Its midnight opening screenings raked in 20.8 million yuan ($3.35 million), trumping the previous high of 13 million yuan set by Iron Man 3 a year ago. Its first-day tally of 196 million yuan nudged aside The Monkey King, which, just six months ago, grossed 122 million yuan on its first day of release. The new Michael Bay movie also set a new record in one-day sales with 214 million yuan.

Other records broken by Transformers 4, as it is popularly known in China, include: 63 percent of all screens for a single day, a record previously held by Feng Xiaogang's Personal Tailor (58 percent); and 614 million yuan in first-weekend grosses versus 468 million for the 3-D version of Titanic.

But this second number is more significant if compared with its US first-weekend total, which is $100 million according to Boxofficemojo, a website that counts box-office figures for all US films.

Factoring in currency conversion, 621 million yuan means the movie's performance in the United States seems to be slightly better than in the Middle Kingdom. But if 630 million yuan, a figure used by China Film News, a more official source, is chosen, its China performance actually edged ahead.

We do not need to quibble about such small discrepancies. All figures point to the undeniable popularity of the movie in China. Yet, in its home market it is not even considered a good popcorn movie for the summer season.

On Rotten Tomatoes, a US website that aggregates film reviews, it got only 17 percent positive reviews, and even audience members who liked it added up to just 60 percent. In comparison, China seems to be made up exclusively of "fans of loud, effects-driven action", to quote the website's definition of the blockbuster's target audience.

That was making Chinese regulators of the film industry quite uneasy. Just before it opened, Zhang Hongsen, director of film bureau under the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, admonished China's film exhibitors, telling them not to get carried away with excitement. Left to their own devices, he said, they would have given over all their screens to this one movie, which he said would be "irrational".

What Zhang had in mind is the ratio of contributions from domestic versus imported films.

Early this year, Chinese films were beating foreign competition hands down, pushing box-office numbers from domestic films comfortably past the half-way point and almost to 60 percent. In recent months, the overall ratio has been in precarious balance and now the latest installment of this Hollywood franchise is expected to tip the scale far in favor of imports.

From the perspective of a film critic, my concern is that the euphoria over setting new records is sending the wrong message to the public, i.e. only spectacle-oriented blockbusters are good movies. It does not really matter whether it is a Chinese release or one from Hollywood. The Monkey King is a terrible film and even its special effects are of poor quality. However, it made more than 1 billion yuan during the year-end holiday season.

The biggest irony in this round of face-off is worthy of a black comedy.

While Chinese film companies moved the schedules of their new releases to avoid a head-on collision with the Hollywood juggernaut, Enlight Pictures decided to tackle the beast with a screwball comedy. It put The Breakup Guru, a directorial debut by actor Deng Chao, in the same opening slot.

Everyone said this would be suicidal, but surprise, surprise, it returned 150 million yuan during its first weekend, a very respectable performance for this genre.

Wang Changtian, CEO of Enlight Media, explains that people had underestimated the power of the smaller cities where moviegoers have a special affinity for this kind of low-brow comedy. The high growth of new screens in recent years is concentrated in this market segment.

Coincidentally, this movie was attacked by a cultural authority who went to a preview. He says it is so tasteless and low-brow it should not qualify as a comedy.

Come to think of it, the best defense against a Hollywood blitz is not a quality film made in China, but a low-brow comedy that appeals to the basest of your laugh instincts. If you expand the vista to the past year or two, it is quite clear that the high growth of China's film market is correlated to the lowering of quality.


Not only is art-house fare relegated to the peripheral, but even quality drama helmed by A-list directors, such as Zhang Yimou's Coming Home that failed to reach 300 million yuan at the box office, is not enough to provide a semblance of counterweight for the barrage of trash hurled our way.

If you want to make a great drama film with no effects and no slapstick, wait a few years, say, 10 years, as I would often suggest to those who consult me.

相关内容

《变形金刚4》在各个方面都打破了纪录,但并非所有人都对此感到高兴。

《变形金刚:绝迹重生》自6月27日在中国上映以来,在中国的票房掀起了吸金狂潮。午夜首映场报收2080万元(约合335万美元),刷新了一年前《钢铁侠3》首映场创下的1300万元票房记录。1.96亿元的首日票房刷新了六个月前《大闹天宫》创下的1.22亿元首日票房记录。迈克尔·贝的这部新电影还创下了2.14亿元的单日票房记录。

众所周知,《变形金刚4》在中国创下的纪录还包括:以63%刷新了冯小刚《私人订制》58%的单日排片纪录;以6.14亿元刷新了《泰坦尼克号》3D版4.68亿元的首周末票房纪录。

但如果与美国首周末票房的1亿美元——该数据由美国一个统计票房数据的网站“票房魔咒”(Boxofficemojo)提供——相比,中国首周末票房数据更值得注意。

把货币兑换因素考虑在内,1亿美元(约合6.21亿元)意味着该片在美国的表现似乎比在中国好一点。但是如果选择《中国电影报》使用的数据,同时也是更官方的数据来源——6.3亿元,该片在中国的表现实际上略胜一筹。

我们不需要对如此小的差异吹毛求疵。所有的数据都不可否认地表现出该片在中国的火爆程度。然而,在其本土市场,该片甚至称不上是一部好的夏季“爆米花电影”。

在美国影评网站“烂番茄”(Rotten Tomatoes)上,只有17%是正面评价,喜欢该片的观众数量也只有60%。相比之下,中国观众似乎都是由“喜欢喧闹的特效打斗场面的影迷”组成,这也是该网站对该片目标观众的定义。

这使得中国电影行业的监管人员感到十分不安。在《变形金刚4》上映之前,国家新闻出版广电总局电影局局长张宏森劝告中国影院不要兴奋得忘乎所以。他说,一些影院《变形金刚4》“恨不得排100%”,这是十分“不理智的”。

张宏森想到的是国产片与进口片市场份额的对比。

今年初,中国电影轻而易举地打败外国片,国产片的票房份额轻松超过50%,几乎达到60%。近几个月,国产片的总份额岌岌可危,而《变形金刚4》的上映扭转了局面,使进口片份额占上风。

从影评人的角度来看,我担心的是票房创造新纪录引发的狂喜向公众发出了错误的讯息,如只有场面宏大的大片才是好电影。这与该片是中国电影还是好莱坞电影毫无关系。《西游记之大闹天宫》是一部很糟糕的电影,甚至特效的质量都很糟糕。然而,该片在年终假期报收10亿元票房。

这一轮对峙中最大的讽刺称得上是一部黑色喜剧。

当中国电影公司都纷纷将其新电影档期排开,避免与好莱坞超级大片产生正面碰撞,光线影业却决定用一部神经喜剧正面迎击。它将邓超的导演处女作《分手大师》排在与《变形金刚4》同一天上映。

每个人都说这是自取灭亡,但大大出乎意料的是,《分手大师》首周末报收1.5亿元,对此类影片来说,这个表现算是相当不错了。

光线传媒的首席执行官王长田解释说,人们低估了小城市观众的份量,他们对此类低俗喜剧有着特殊的喜好。近年来新电影的高增长率主要集中在此部分市场。

无独有偶,该影片被一名前去试映会的文化界权威炮轰。他说,该影片毫无品味且十分庸俗,不应称作喜剧。

细想一下,在与好莱坞的闪电战中最好的防御战略不是一部中国制作的高质量影片,而是一部触发笑点的低俗喜剧。如果你回顾过去一两年,十分明确的是,中国电影市场的高增长与电影品质的下降息息相关。

不仅艺术片处在边缘,而且由顶级导演指导的高质量剧情片,如票房未能达到3亿元的张艺谋作品《归来》,也不足以对抗我们面临的烂片攻击。

我经常对那些向我请教的人建议说,如果你想制作一部好的剧情片,并且没有特效、没有低俗闹剧,你可能要等几年,比如10年。


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