Popcorn and 3D Glasses

Posted by Min Park on 5/16/2018

            In Newton, I watched a movie in the theaters every other week. One reason for this was that my film studies class that I took at Newton South required us to watch newly released films, and the other reason was that I absolutely love watching movies. Because of this, film studies was my favorite class Senior year as I was able to watch movies and have it count as homework. When coming to Beijing, I really wanted to be able to go watch movies as I did in Newton. I didn’t want to miss out on good films, but I was also very curious to see if Beijing cinemas were any different than those in Newton, or if there was any type of movie culture that was prevalent here.

I believe that watching movies at the movie theaters instead of at home is an experience in itself. Movie theater screens, unlike laptops or televisions, are able to provide an experience instead of simply sitting on one’s couch and renting an old movie and having the option to pause it. Being at the theater allows for the best experience of movie watching as one can be as sucked into the movie as they like and watch a movie that is still relevant. For example, in Boston my friends and I had our tradition of stopping by a CVS to buy our candies and drinks (as movie theaters are overpriced) and then buying our popcorn at the theaters.

Here in Beijing, I watched three movies so far at the theaters at the APM on Wangfujing as well as the UTown Mall in Chaoyangmen. I have watched Maze Runner 3, Ready Player One, and Black Panther. Although I was half blind watching these movies because of my broken glasses, I thankfully did not need to read subtitles as I can, obviously, read English.

Frankly, I was disappointed but not surprised that movie theaters as well as cinema culture in China and in the US are basically the same. When I think about it, of course, it makes sense. How special or different could movie theaters get? However, the one thing that I was surprised to see was the number of English movies showing in Beijing cinemas. I knew that Hollywood was the biggest and most successful film industry in the world, however, I truly realized its influence over the world as I saw that half of the movies shown were in English.

It was also interesting to see that so many people went to the theaters here in Beijing. My host family, for example, loves going to the movie theater and never watches movies at home. I also met many friends at Jingshan that enjoyed watching movies and regularly go to the theaters. On wechat memories, I see many Jingshan friends posting about the latest movie. Many students, when having free time, would go to malls and movie theaters to spend their time. With this, I realized that Jingshan students and myself are pretty similar and enjoy doing similar activities.