Movies

Asians shun Oscar contenders

 

Associated Press

Lights, camera, laughs.

Tens of millions of film fanatics are entering theaters around Asia during the long Lunar New Year holiday, but Hollywood can’t count on them to boost the box office for its mostly serious Oscar nominees. Even with the Academy Awards buzz at a peak barely two weeks before the ceremony, patrons are opting for lighter fare.

“Viewers are mostly drawn to action films, films with special effects, comedies or easy-to-follow ‘popcorn’ movies’,” said Ross Lee, a manager with Vieshow Cinemas, which owns one of Taiwan’s largest theater chains. “In Taiwan the big hits are traditionally disaster films like 2012.

Lee and others say that with Chinese movie-goers using the New Year holiday to escape their daily grinds, they generally give the cold shoulder to weightier movies, like this year’s leading nominee Lincoln or last year’s best picture The Artist.

Lincoln is an American film,” said Hong Kong film fan Leo Wong, 31. “I think Americans will probably be more interested. I don’t really understand the history. And it’s too serious.”

Reflecting Wong’s critique, Hong Kong’s film industry goes out of its way to pander to the local preference for lighter New Year’s selections, turning out a sub-genre of films specifically designed with holiday tastes in mind.

This year’s Hong Kong holiday crop includes Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons, a prequel to the classic Chinese fable, and I Love Hong Kong 2013, a super-light comedy with an all-star cast and a crowd-pleasing happy ending.

Explaining her preference for watching locally produced comedies, Hong Kong movie-goer Christine Lam said it reinforced the spirit of the season.

“You want to do this on Chinese New Year,” she said, “to watch Chinese movies instead of Western ones because it gives you the vibe.”

Chimed in husband Andy Lam: “(New Year comedies) are funny and we have a lot of fun. We just laugh.”

Sun Shaoyi of Shanghai University’s School of Film and TV Arts and Technology said in addition to aesthetic considerations, Oscar nominees vying for attention on the mainland must also contend with officially sanctioned blackouts.

“Authorities limit the number of Western films showing during the New Year period,” Sun said. “They have to do this to protect the local market.”

Read more Lifestyle stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Lucky Us. </span>Amy Bloom. Random. pages. 256 pages. $26.

    Fiction

    A pair of sisters take on post-war America in Amy Bloom’s ‘Lucky Us’

    An irrepressible pair of half-sisters take on post-war America and emerge with a new vision of family.

  • What are you reading now?

    “Song of the Shaman by Annette Vendryes Leach. I am a real sucker for any book that involves magic and religion. And this one is also about being a mother, so I was pretty much sold before even opening the book. But the opening scene is a gritty, bloody one of a woman giving birth on the Brooklyn Bridge. Which of course means I can’t stop reading even if I wanted to. I mean, the woman’s back is bucking against an ashtray as she pushes. What a way to open a book!”

  • Dear Abby

    Dear Abby: Son-in-law’s abusive father makes family gathering painful

    Dear Abby: I adore my son-in-law, “Tom.” He’s a wonderful husband to our daughter. He’s always inviting us to dinner along with his parents and family. We get along with them, but can’t stand how they treat Tom. We have never seen parents treat their children the way they treat him — especially the father. Tom is practically begging for his approval and attention on a daily basis.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category