Chinese Movie Theaters Apparently Hellbent on Making the Experience Even More Miserable

     August 19, 2014


As someone who has gotten into at least two dozen verbal altercations with members of the texting community over the past five or six years, I pray for China.  And I hope that whatever China is up to these days doesn’t spread much further.  Because Chinese movie theaters are testing and refining systems that allow theatergoers to text during films and then see those texts on the actual screen the film is playing on.  ”Bullet screens” will pop up over the movie you’re watching.  It’s bad enough that you have to see the light from someone’s phone, but now you have to see their stupid thoughts onscreen?

Don’t even try to justify this one to me as some kind of “eventuality.”  It’s not.  It doesn’t have to be.  One of the best parts of going to the movies is being able to out away your phone.  But apparently the epidemic is so bad there that theaters are feeling the need to lean into this cultural debacle.  Hit the jump for more on this nightmare scenario. 

movie-theatre-textingAccording to an article in The Hollywood Reporter (via China Youth Daily):

The inspiration behind the idea appears to be that it mimicks that of watching a movie on mobile media, which is how most Chinese people watch films, with people sending messages about what they like or dislike about the movie.

The piece elaborates on the already nightmarish experience, but really goes in for the kill with a quote from Legend of Qin (pictured below) director Shen Leping, who seems to be taking a page of thought right out of the heads of some of the most entitled Twitter trolls out there:

“We are exploring how the response from the audience can affect the movie itself… We are, in fact, putting the director and viewer on equal terms, and I think many of the opinions of the viewers are very helpful for film makers.”

legend-of-qin-chinese-movie-theatersWhat? To compound the vast misreading of what is actually happening here, they interview filmgoer Xu Huilin (I for one would like some context as far as Huilin’s age and/or cognitive ability):

“This is a real way of watching a film. For us, it is exciting and fun. It is a reform in terms of the commercial model. It is just like when popcorn got into cinema for the first time, a lot of people protested that it would affect the film viewing experience.”

Of course, it’s not as though the whole country is going crazy.  People like Riya Sang stand up for the voice of reason with the wholly sane (and should-be universal) sentiment, “I don’t like bullet screens. The point of watching a film in the theater is to put away whatever is in your hand and focus on the film.”  Still, it appears as though folks like Sang are either in the minority, at least according the the hellscape depicted in the article.

Readers who have recently watched a movie in China, is this depiction accurate?  I’d like to think that it’s not.  Let me know.



    life sux

  • Lex Walker

    You used to be cool China.

    • China

      China still cool. you pay lata. Lata!

      • Mykey

        Damn you! Half way through the article, I thought to do this, then I saw you beat me to it.

      • Lex Walker

        Well done.

  • World’s Finest Comments

    I will build a small EMP with a range long enough to effect the seats around me but not far enough where it reaches the projector and kill every nearby phone if this happens in the states.

    • Mike

      I’m with you. Imma sign up for free to make sure your device becomes a reality.

      • ʝoe βloggs

        Kickstarter awaits

    • Mezmero

      Sure you would buddy LMAO!

  • Jan

    Cinematic trolling. I’m in.

    • Lex Walker

      “Hey guy in the front row wearing a Knicks jersey, your seat sucks. Womp womp!”

  • Michael Bay


  • Davis

    Why argue with someone over texting? It’s not like they’re talking on the phone, it causes an even bigger disturbance.

    • Steven Ray Morris

      The light from their phone can be distracting.

      • RedMercury

        Maybe it’s the theaters I visit or the movies I see, but I’ve never even noticed if people are texting or not.

        Frankly, if the movie is so boring that you’re distracted by the shiny thing in front of you, maybe you either need to pick more interesting movies or work on your concentration skills.

      • Steven Ray Morris

        Just put your damn phone away!

      • the king of comedy

        I disagree it`s totally distracting and takes you away from the movie no mather how good or bad it is, just the same as stupid people who talk in movie theathers, anoying kids, etc.

      • RedMercury

        I’m just curious…

        When I watch a movie, I’m looking at what’s on the screen. I’m not really paying any attention to anyone else in the audience. So I don’t see how it’s distracting in the same way that people talking is distracting.

        Now the theaters I tend to go to have “Stadium” seating, so maybe that’s why I don’t notice it.

      • RedMercury

        I’m just curious…

        When I watch a movie, I’m looking at what’s on the screen. I’m not really paying any attention to anyone else in the audience. So I don’t see how it’s distracting in the same way that people talking is distracting.

        Now the theaters I tend to go to have “Stadium” seating, so maybe that’s why I don’t notice it.

      • RockyDavies

        I think its kinda the opposite, if the movie is so boring that you feel the need to text the whole time, why don’t YOU pick a more interesting movie or go wait in the hall for it to finish. Its just a common courtesy. Why go to a movie if you don’t want to watch the movie?

      • Grendal Sven

        Yup, true story, a large black woman and her 6 noisy offspring were sitting down 1 row in front of me. She kept pulling out her damn Galaxy note and checking her Facebook during the movie. I polightly asked her to put it away because those things are like friggan computer screens. She than proceeded to stand up in the movie theater and curse me out at the top of her lungs. 5 minutes later security came and threw her and her brood out on their asses.

      • Davis

        For 20 seconds

      • Davis

        For 20 seconds

  • Steven Ray Morris


  • The Destroyer

    That sounds terrible. I hate it when tv shows post tweets at the bottom of the screen. If I wanted to look at random people’s tweets, I would go onto twitter and click the show’s hashtag, but I don’t.

  • Mikey

    C’mon we all know this is going to get greenlit and is going to be the new way of watching movies, and gonna be the new way of attracting these numbed future generation of young fucknuts into the cinema, this is basically going to be the new way of making shit loads of moolah. China just made a breakthrough and since China is a huge market for Hollywood movies, this shit is going to take off. It’s only a matter of time this becomes an epidemic. Way to go China.

    • theseeker7

      This may be a huge boom in China (and perhaps even other foreign markets), but I would literally bet every future dollar I’ll ever make that this would NEVER come to fruition in America. Yes, we are an A.D.D. society, but this is flat out absurd. I mean my jaw was practically on the floor reading this article.

    • the king of comedy

      It`s not the future, it`s a thing that`ll stay only in China, we don`t want that anywhere else, and would be even bad for bussines since people would rather not go to the movie theaters where you have to accept something like that

      • Bob

        Nope, people who go to nthe movies would still go. I guarentee it, and more dumb teens will go so they can type dumb things on the screen like. he’s a bout to die. and, this movie is trash etc.

  • Person

    Yeah this is terrible, nothing good can come of this. Hopefully it dies.

  • Mixed race rich kid NYC

    This is racist
    Now we have to see white peoples text messages on the screen
    Black people can’t talk in theaters anymore
    #justice for #mike brown
    down with whit supremacy

    • Jay

      I don’t even…

    • Mixed race rich kid NYC

      I don’t even know what to say
      Please ban this guy somebody

      • johnny D

        Trollollollol, someone ban the boring a## troll!

    • Old Soldier

      Meanwhile, brothers be shoutn’ “Un-un, don’ chu go in dare”. Ooooo…SNAP!
      #justice served

  • Yurine

    I hope this doesn’t catch on in the US.

    • Daniel O’Reilly

      If a theater near me started doing this, I would stop going all together..

  • sense

    wow someone deserves to be shot over that idea, thats fucking horrible in every sense of the word

  • Jay

    If the anonymous texting in games is any indication, there will just be a flood of profanity on-screen.

  • Lawrence

    If this is ever incorporated here I will probably stop going to movies and just wait until the movie comes out on Blu-ray to watch it. Provided I have any interest in the movie. I can’t even handle people talking in movies I don’t know how I would take seeing their tweets show up on screen. Hopefully people realize there is a cultural difference between Americans and Chinese and we don’t all react to films the same way.

  • Kyle Chandler

    These are the people influencing the direction of hollywood.

  • Strong Enough

    is it bad i’m more worried about this than world hunger? I genuinely felt a cloak of horror flow over me when i read this.

    • Jay

      That sounds like something a well-fed person would say ;)

      • Lex Walker

        Uh yeah, proper nourishment gives him the required energy to worry about things that matter.


    Hey China, thats a great idea! Now everyone can text their thoughts about your corrupt government and lack of human rights on a big screen for all to see! ..

    …Fixed it everyone! Your welcome! You can go about your business, move along.. ;-)

  • Steve c

    this better not ever hit screens here.

  • Travis Gowen

    Going to the theater is overrated anyway. More frustrations than enjoyment.

    • MIXTER

      I agree! I used to enjoy it, but now its people eating noisy foods next to you, talking, or their phones lighting up during a movie. Or the movies themselves sometimes are so cgi fx heavy it disconnects you from it. So many elements that draw you out of the film and distract. I hardly go anymore.

      • Noomba

        I hate it when I have someone sitting near me, who baby munches on their popcorn. Multiple crunches for one piece, drives me fucking NUUUUUUUUUUTS!

    • Person

      I agree, but certain movies still need to be seen in theaters, regardless of how nice your home set-up may be.

    • Grendal Sven

      I agree, I abjectly refuse to go see a movie on opening weekend unless I can catch an early matinee. The last time I went on a premier Friday night was when I brought my son to see Avatar in imax 3D. There was almost a riot because there were two lines, one for losers who showed up and hour early like it was a Rolling Stones concert or something, and one for folks like us who showed up 5 mins before the move started… They let our line in 1st. The nerd at the head of the other line started screaming at the top of his lungs and looked like he was gonna attack someone.

  • Holoshot

    This is horrifying.

  • vitextreeradar

    this is gonna sound sad but i’d take that over the loud talkers. it’s easier to ignore that than start a battle royale

  • Mezmero

    How bout you all have no attention spans left LMMFAO How is a cell phone light brighter than the ushers flashlight shining in your face? People should just wait for everything to come out on Blu-Ray.

    • Grendal Sven

      I haven’t seen an usher with a flashlight in any of my local theaters in well over 10 years, and I try to make it to the movies once a week.

  • ʝoe βloggs

    Does this mean that all CAM versions are going to have bullet screens in them from now on?


  • Old Soldier

    I carry an old laser pointer. If someone is texting a few rows down, just shine the beam on their screen. Hilarity ensues.

    • GunzOfNavarone

      I love this, you sir, are a genius.

  • appolox

    Well this a stupid idea in every way. What if your REALLY getting into the movie and during a big dramatic moment at which the tension is unbearable, “don’t forget to pick up some Doritos” pops up on the screen.

    • frankzubek

      Wow. if this is actually true it WILL saturate the market- including America. And to your comment, Appolox, they’ll go so far as to do what syndicated channels do on cable….in the middle of a dramatic scene for say, the next Star Trek film…Harrison Ford- in costume!- will walk into the lower left frame of the film and remind you Star Wars 7 is now playing in IMAX in theater 13. (Even worse…he’ll ask if you want to buy tickets …just press 2 on your phone!)
      It’s coming folks. Or something just as distracting.

      • appolox

        And piracy rates will be through the roof.

  • Micheal bay

    Someone nuke china pronto!!!

  • 3i


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