China Pushes 3D Format

China has taken to 3D enthusiastically, and the biz is obsessed with developing the format as a way of competing internationally, but also appeasing a domestic aud madly engaged about that third dimension. By the end of February, Avatar had taken in $180 million, making it the biggest grosser in Chinese history. Auds loved the 3D format so much that it survived even after the censors' efforts to stop it.

China wants to own the 3D market, but Tang Bin, secretary general of China's 3D Industry Assn., says the biggest problem China faces is producing enough content.

"Most cinemas have already been equipped with 3D facilities, and as far as I know around 20 studios are preparing to work in this new area of film," says China Film Group VP Shi Dongming. "They will probably cooperate with Hong Kong and Taiwan, but due to the limitations of technology, some overseas 3D film experts will be invited (over to work on projects)."

Chen Hongwei, marketing director of Wanda Intl. Cinema Chain, says that by the end of last year, his group had 400 screens, of which 120 were 3D screens. "We will mainly build digital screens. And as for 3D, we only need to buy 3D equipment. So as to how many 3D screens will be built by Wanda, it will only depend on the market demand, since it is quite easy to equip a 3D facility," says Chen.

By Clifford Coonan, Variety