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  • Tomas Lee

Little Things That Could Save The Box Office


Yes, little things. I'm not here to discuss how to better write a script, nor casting better crews, filming technique or so and so. Indeed, I'm going to share and compare my movie experience in both domestic and overseas, and how it's such a matter the correct translation, caption size and screen fitting (resolution) shall be implemented to literally raise the box office of any single movie.

Last year, during my long stay in Taiwan, the "Justice League" had happened to release on the big screen. I was so excited as a comic fan. But, by the time I returned to the States, the movie would be already teared down from the theater. Therefore, I decided to pay a local theatre a visit. Instead of squeezing in a long line waiting to buy ticket, I'd gone to a district neighborhood cinema, SHOWTIME CINEMAS. It's my very first time going to such a tiny theater. I've to walk up two levels of ladders reaching to the theater room. I mean, from here, you can basically tell that theater wouldn't be equipped with Dolby audio, and let's not talk abt Digital 3D or other advanced visual experience technologies. Well, I should expect too much fr a ticket only costed NT $280 (US $10). But, to the local residents with average income NT $22K/month, watching movie is a luxury recreation. Meanwhile, seating in Taiwan was prior picked during ticket purchasing, unlike the first comes first serve policy in the States. In my case, I didn't have too much option but seated at the aisle of an upper row. My seating view was at the center, but shouldn't affect my overall experience.

Whilst the "Justice League" began playing, I immediately took noticed something's really wrong. It's the resolution didn't fit the movie screen entirely, which's an odd thing to me. I am not talking abt the scale, but the movie seems curved of some sorts at the edges. Right away, my excitement abt the movie rapidly cut in half. Secondly, the Chinese subtitle was "Large" consumed at least 1/8 of the screen, which deeply impacted my visual experience and reduced the viewable screen might cause missing some critical elements of the movie. Last but not least, the Chinese subtitle wasn't translated thoroughly from the script. The idea of many lines weren't comprehensively carried out, and most audience had missed the story plot or jokes, which has nothing to do with language barrier or localization.

And in this year's May timeframe, I was again traveling in TW and for the same exact reason I went watching the "Deadpool 2". But... I decided to take a MRT ride to the Mitsui Outlet Park in the city of Linkou for the 4D Digital experience for comparison. Of course, it's a day and night, in term of the visual effect and in-person experience between the two theaters. As expected, screen resolution was perfect without any misalignment. Furthermore, the in-theater special effects, vibrated chair, and so forth were excellent, was well worth the ticket price. Even still, one awkward thing has happened - missing laughs from the audience. Everyone knows this movie is full of jokes, but you can hear silent at most of those "laugh my butt off" moments. Why? Majority of the local residents has mediocre or below English skill and they heavily relied on the subtitle to translate the script accurately for them to understand the storyline. It's neither the culture, nor the knowledge abt the background of this Marvel character. Simply, the translation was so poor that missing some critical points to tell the jokes. A bad storyteller. This is not limited to the movie, but to our daily life. Very often that lost in translation costed all of us conflicts, opportunities, or even fortunes.

Contrarily, "The Island" (2018) - a Chinese comedy movie filmed and produced by A Beijing Enlight (in China), Well Go USA Entertainment (in U.S.) release of a Beijing Enlight Pictures Co., Shanghai Hanna Pictures Ltd. production (Int'l sales: Beijing Enlight Co., Beijing.) had done an excellent job in preparing itself for the box-office worldwide. I wasn't really into any China made film, but being curious to make a comparison for this blog. I went to an AMC theater (only played on selective cinemas) to watch this. First, they also repeated the same mistake on the screen resolution. The high quality screen and projection equipments in AMC obviously reproduce the film to be blur. The film was pixelated to the degree that you feel like a layer of smog painted on the top, and I am pretty certain it ain't part of the movie effect. That could be due to the resolution complier wasn't being prior reviewed carefully for audience visual experience in before hand. On the other hand, the caption scale and translation was exceptional. It's much, much better than I expected. Bc of the complication of the Chinese language, I didn't envisage this difficult job'll be done well. Indeed, every joke inside the movie was thoroughly transcribed. I was impressed and had a pleasant experience whilst watching.

In my conclusion, Devil in the Details. History has already prevailed us any organization could collapse in a split second bc of ignoring small aspects.

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