Copyright ©2010. The Associated Press. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Film fans in Asia want light fun, make Oscars wait
But even allowing for the artistic and administrative roadblocks, some Oscar-nominated films do manage to make a big impact in Chinese-speaking markets during the New Year holiday, particularly if they are accompanied by a positive critical buzz.
Christine Lam said she had decided to use this year's holiday to see "Les Miserables," notwithstanding its relatively heavy subject matter.
"This is a very famous movie and people are talking about this movie very much," she said, adding that the film's much ballyhooed operatic style and live singing by actors had tipped the balance in its favor.
In Taipei, trading firm owner Thomas Huang said his own preference for thrillers made going to see "Zero Dark Thirty" an easy viewing choice. He said he also took in local hero Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," the special effect-rich story of a young man's epic journey of discovery, "half because Ang Lee is Taiwanese and half because of the Oscar nominations."
Huang saw best-picture front-runner "Argo" previously and would not miss other nominated films if trusted critics endorsed them. He said he's captivated by the pomp of the Oscar-nomination ceremony, which raised his interest in the nominated films as well.
"You don't count on the Oscar awards as a guarantee a film is good, but they are still generally up to a certain standard," he said.
Taiwanese film critic Wen Tien-hsiang said that even if some Oscar-nominated films did not do well with Chinese-speaking audiences during the New Year holiday period, scoring big on Oscar night would help to guarantee them substantial audiences later.
"Films winning awards will definitely gain them viewer attention," Wen said in an email. "Film companies sometimes decide to screen Oscar winners only after they get the prize."
Associated Press writers Annie Huang in Taipei and Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong and researcher Fu Ting in Shanghai contributed to this report.