Brave bid to break jinx

By Xu Fan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-05-26 08:39:04

Brave bid to break jinx

(From left to right) Evan Peters, Sophie Turner and director Bryan Singer meet fans in Beijing while promoting X-Men: Apocalypse.[Photo provided to China Daily]

On a big screen at a downtown Beijing mall, the world's first and most-powerful mutant wakes up after a long slumber.

"Everything they've built will fall. And from the ashes of their (humanity's) world, we'll build a better one," says the titular baddie of the upcoming superhero film X-Men: Apocalypse.

The trailer was broadcast on the screen, attracting hundreds of viewers.

Outside the mall, screaming fans lined up along the red carpet.

Actor Evan Peters, who plays Quicksilver; actress Sophie Turner, who plays Phoenix; and director Bryan Singer waved to, and posed for selfies with, Chinese enthusiasts. They also signed autographs.

An interesting mix of the fictional and the real world, the latest X-Men film hopes to cast a spell on Chinese audiences, which now comprise the world's second-largest movie market.

However, the biggest installment in X-Men history-which comprises nine films in 16 years-could face some hurdles.

Industry sources say its Chinese mainland premiere date, June 3, is "bad timing" for films in the genre, as two superhero films released this year have bombed.

Both the films featured lots of action and big casts. But Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (released on March 25) and Captain America: Civil War (May 6) left ordinary Chinese moviegoers perplexed. While Chinese moviegoers loved the spectacular scenes, they were left a bit confused by the characters.

This was probably due to the fact that, while their counterparts in the United States have had access to superhero comic books, where they have been around for around 80 years, Chinese viewers have no such cultural background to fall back on.

So, will X-Men: Apocalypse face a similar problem, given that audiences here lack background knowledge?

Responding to the concern, Singer says that, despite this film's position in the series, it's actually the first one and an original story.

"It (the film) is about the birth and formation of the X-Men," says Singer, speaking to China Daily during his Beijing promotional tour.

"My son is 15 months old. When he is the right age, this will be the first X-Men movie that I'm going to show him ... I think Apocalypse is a movie for people with the least knowledge of the X-Men series or Marvel comic books."

Singer, 51, is regarded as the godfather of X-Men movies.

The American director and author is known for mixing his personal and sociopolitical thoughts with comic content, which bridges the gap between fans and regular viewers.

As for Professor Xavier, believed to be modeled on Martin Luther King and Magneto, based Malcolm X, Singer sees the two mutant leaders as representing different attitudes toward minority groups.

As for the director's takes on discrimination and bias, a 40-minute preview of the 144-minute feature shows a couple of young mutants, Angel and Nightcrawler, captured by humans and forced to fight each other.

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