Cinemas and filmmakers expect huge revenues from a series of strong holiday releases, but they're also worried video pirates will eat into their profits.
The new films include Chen Kaige's fantasy epic The Promise, Zhang Yimou's art house film Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, Jeff Lau's comedy A Chinese Tale Story and Peter Chan's romance Perhaps Love.
According to Wu Hehu, marketing director of Shanghai United Cinema Lines, the blockbuster The Promise has generated 10 million yuan, or US$1.23 million in local ticket sales so far.
But its pirated DVDs, which appeared in town early this week, will put the movie's future box office revenue under threat.
Wu complained that the occasional crackdowns on unlicensed DVD distributors had very little effects, more effective intervention by the government is needed.
And for the art house movies, whose audiences are not always concerned about audio-visual effects and stunts, piracy can lead to an even bigger loss in box office revenue.
The producer of Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, said the key is to raise public awareness about the need to protect the intellectual rights of filmmakers.
(CRI December 28, 2005)