Beijing's movie fans in for new experience

By Wang Kaihao ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-01-14 08:20:20

Beijing's movie fans in for new experience

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Cinema viewing in the Chinese capital is set to get better with more access to world-class technology.

Last week, Beijing got its first three THX-certified auditoriums at China Film Aeon Cinema in Fengtai district.

THX Holdings Ltd, a California-based private provider of audio and visual standards for movie houses and home theaters, aims to develop new standards for the industry and improve the quality of cinema screening in China through testing and certification.

The recent certification of the theaters in Beijing comes as THX and China Film Group, the country's biggest State-run film enterprise, work together. The three auditoriums can together hold 600 filmgoers.

China's first THX-certificated auditorium is in a Shanghai cinema, a part of China Film Group chain. It opened in January 2015.

"When filmgoers enter an auditorium, they deserve an experience without deviation or distraction to understand the work of the filmmaker," says Louis Cacciuttolo, THX's executive vice-president for international business development and brand strategy, at the launch ceremony of the cinemas in Beijing. "They have the right to get the real story, which the director wants to tell them."

"However, this is very difficult to realize, and it demands compliance with lots of technical specifications."

Cacciuttolo says that some visual and acoustic effects are lost during screening. As a certificate-provider to many of Hollywood's famed studios, Cacciuttolo is confident of being able to transplant the effects from the studios to the cinemas.

Other than for cinemas, he says, THX will certify Chinese film studios in the near future.

For cinemas, it is costlier to meet the technical specifications in established venues when compared to introducing them into early stage design at new venues.

This probably explains why Beijing's first three THX-certificated auditoriums are in a newly opened cinema in the southwest of the city.

Bu Shusheng, general manager of the cinema investment unit for China Film Group, says: "I believe that with the new technology the capital's cinemas will have a good example to follow.

"While China has 32,000 film screens and 44 billion yuan ($6.7 million) in annual box-office revenue, what filmgoers now want is more than stories. They are also pickier in terms of technology."

But even as the number of cinemas grows in China, some of them are of very poor quality, Bu says.

"So a new standard will have to be set to curb distractions for filmgoers. This (certification) is an important step."


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