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China’s animated films expected to attract adult audiences, not “for kids only”

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China is trying to boost its animated film industry — and the results are making headlines this summer for being both shamelessly bad and surprisingly good.

中国正努力促进动漫电影产业发展,结果今年夏天上头条的,既有差得丢人的动漫影片,也有好得意外的动漫影片。

 

18 animated features produced in China are expected to hit the country’s theaters this summer, a record high and more than double last year’s number. Seeking to maximize audiences, China’s state film regulator is requiring more than 2,000 theaters in the country to slot two hours for screening domestically-produced animated films each morning. The plan, which went into effect Saturday, also requires that theaters offer discounted tickets for the films during those times. 

预计今年夏天有18部中国产动漫影片登陆中国银幕,数量是去年的两倍多,创下历史纪录。为了争取尽可能多的观众入场,中国国家电影监管机构要求全国2000多家影院每天上午留出两个小时放映国产动漫影片。11日生效的该计划还要求影院在相应时段提供打折票。

 

One of the films on offer, “The Autobots,” has caught public attention after critics alleged that it plagiarized the 2006 Pixar film, “Cars.” Online postings comparing the Autobots poster to the nearly-identical Cars poster went viral on China’s social networks in the weeks leading up to its July 3 release, with netizens heaping scorn on director Zhuo Jianrong.

《汽车人总动员》就是这样一部动漫影片。由于被指抄袭2006年的皮克斯影片《汽车总动员》,该片引起了公众关注。在7月3日上映前几周,将《汽车人总动员》海报与几乎雷同的《汽车总动员》海报相比较的帖子在中国社交媒体上疯传,网民对导演卓建荣嗤之以鼻。

 

Wu Hanqing, CEO of Vasoon Animation, had a similarly harsh assessment. “There is always a group of ‘businessmen’ who take advantage of audiences in less-developed areas, as they are not that information-savvy, and make knock-offs of Hollywood animated films,” she said. “Oftentimes, these projects can make money.”

北京青青树动漫科技有限公司首席执行官武寒青说:“总有一群‘生意人’利用欠发达地区观众对信息的不敏感,山寨好莱坞动漫影片,而这些项目常常能挣到钱。”

 

On the other end of the spectrum is “Money King: Hero is Back”, a 3-D animated film based on the story of “Journey To The West.” The film raked in more than 134 million yuan in the four days after it was released last Friday, according to Beijing-based film research firm EntGroup — an impressive figure, as many domestic animated films tend to gross only millions of yuan at best.

另一部反响截然不同的影片是根据《西游记》故事改编的3D动漫《西游记之大圣归来》。据总部设在北京的电影研究公司艺恩称,自10日首映以来,该片4天票房收入超过1.34亿元—这是相当可观的数字,因为许多国产动漫影片的票房往往最多只有几百万元。

 

The film also won a rare wave of positive reviews from industry professionals and audiences. “Its animation effects are catching up with the visual effects of Hollywood (projects),” film and TV director Jin Gang wrote on his verified Weibo account. “It is a nice animation gift given to China’s kids and adults, which is so rare in the past three decades.”

极为难得的是,该片还赢得了电影业界和观众的大量好评。电视和电影导演金刚在其认证微博账号上写道:“动画特效段落细节工序接近好莱坞,算给中国小朋友和大朋友近30年来不可多见的动画可心礼物。”

 

Likely helping to draw audiences to the film is its retelling of a classic storythat has weathered countless adaptations on China’s TV and silver screens. In addition, Chinese moviegoers don’t have many choices at the moment as most buzzy Hollywood films are blocked out by the state film regulator to protect local films, and other domestic films currently showing have received negative reviews.

报道称,该片吸引观众的一个可能因素是,故事情节改编自经典小说,之前已有无数类似的电视和电影作品。此外,中国电影观众的选择不多,因为大多数热门好莱坞影片被国家电影监管机构拒之门外,而同期上映的其他国产片又反响不佳。

 

Still, China’s domestic animation industry faces a variety of challenges. Ms. Wu of Vasoon Animation pointed to a lack of understanding of the broad variety of animation offerings as one obstacle faced by the genre. Vasoon produced “Kuiba,” a Chinese fantasy animation franchise, the three installments of which all suffered from lukewarm box office receipts.

报道称,尽管如此,中国国内动漫产业面临多种挑战。青青树公司的武寒青说,中国动漫影片面临的一个障碍是,人们缺乏对动漫多样性的理解。青青树公司出品的中国奇幻动漫《魁拔》三部曲的票房均不温不火。

 

“Many local theaters are very reluctant to screen domestic animated films at night, because domestic animated films appear to be ‘kids only’ and not for adult audiences,” Ms. Wu said.

武寒青说:“许多本土影院非常不情愿在晚上排国产动漫影片,因为国产动漫影片似乎是‘特供儿童’,不适合成年观众。”

 

She added that the unexpected success of “Monkey King” gives her more confidence. “Its popularity tells the market that China can also make good animated films that attract adult audiences,” she said.

报道称,她还表示,《大圣归来》的意外成功给了她更多信心。她说:“它的流行让市场知道,中国也能制作吸引成年观众的优秀动漫影片。”

2016-06-24

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