21 August 2019
Audience feedback and interactivity is being taken to a new level at some Chinese movie theaters. Photo:
Audience feedback and interactivity is being taken to a new level at some Chinese movie theaters. Photo:

Watch a movie and let your comments fly — on the screen

Two movie theaters, one in Shanghai and the other in Hangzhou, have been the scene of a novel experiment in audience engagement in China last week, delighting crowds made up of mostly teenagers.

Ahead of a nationwide premiere this Friday, the producer of the comic film “The Legend of Qin” decided to give teen audience a fresh movie experience by enabling a “danmaku” interactive system, reported Sunday.

“Danmaku”, which literally means “barrage” or “bullet curtain” in Japanese, is a famous feature created by Japan’s biggest video website Niconico. It allows the audience’s chats and comments to fly across the screen, just like bullets. Sometimes, when there are a lot of comments, the whole screen could be covered with text, creating a “bullet curtain”.

The system has been warmly welcomed by Chinese teenagers after it was introduced in 2008 among comic fans. Now, even the large video websites like iQiyi and Youku Tudou have added the function to cater to the audience’s needs.

“This is the best movie experience I ever had,” a junior year student was quoted as saying after a special “danmaku” screening.

The youth could share the feelings on particular scenes in the movies, creating an instant community.

“The film’s target audience of 15 to 29 has largely overlapped with these who love to watch danmaku videos on computer or mobile screens. So, we thought why not put [danmaku] on even larger theater screens?” said Sheng Leping, director and producer of the comic film.

The danmaku screenings have been carried out twice, once in Shanghai and the other at a Hangzhou theater. “We’ve received very positive feedback,” Sheng said.

Encouraged by the response, the company is planning another 50 danmaku screenings.

Meanwhile, the third cinematic installment of the Tiny Times franchise may also try a danmaku screening Monday in Beijing, according to the report.

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‘Danmaku’ allows people to watch their comments flashed on the screen instantly while watching a movie. Picture:


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