We’ve all been there – getting annoyed with stupid people who insist on using their phones while watching a film in a cinema.
But now some cinemas in China are actually encouraging such anti-social behaviour.
Cinemas in Beijing, Shanghai and other major Chinese cities are experimenting with “bullet screens” on which members of the audience can send text messages commenting on the film, which are then projected directly onto the screen.
Yahoo Movies says that the experience is set to become institutionalised during some movies for younger viewers who can’t spend five minutes away from their tablet or phone, according to a report in the China Youth Daily.
It says the inspiration behind the idea appears to be that it mimics that of watching a movie on a mobile device, which is how most Chinese people watch films, with people sending messages about what they like or dislike about the movie.
Bullet screens reportedly have many cinema owners, moviegoers and filmmakers in China very excited. The hope is that one day the tech will actually allow the audience to dictate the story and outcome of a movie, essentially turning it into a semi-interactive experience not unlike a video game.
“We are exploring how the response from the audience can affect the movie itself,” said filmmaker Shen Leping, whose movie Legend of Qin was screened in Beijing and Shanghai with the bullet screen technology.
“For example, we can conduct live polls and even alter the development of the plot based on responses we receive from audiences.”
However, the public reaction to bullet screens has reportedly been mixed, with some complaining that the on-screen messages are a distraction and can make watching a film difficult.
Yup, this seems like it could be yet another nail in cinema’s coffin …
By Stuart O'Connor | August 21st, 2014