China has become a massive box office for western films, so it's not surprising to hear that a studio might make an exclusive version of a movie, just for them. However, they probably shouldn't have bothered. While Chinese movie-going audiences love 3D movies, it seems that seeing Jason Bourne in that format may not have been the best choice, as it's making people sick.
When we rate a movie's 3D presentation, we do it on a number of different factors, one of them is audience health. It appears that the Chinese version of Jason Bourne has completely failed that test. Chinese social media sites are reportedly full of people complaining of becoming dizzy or nauseous while watching Jason Bourne in 3D. While there was no 3D option to see the film in North America, according to The Hollywood Reporter, it's just about the only way to see the film in China, which is a problem, because the combination of 3D images, and Paul Greengrass's handheld "shaky cam" style, are apparently enough to make you lose your lunch. Chinese movie audiences are protesting and Universal has come out and said that they will begin to work with theaters to get more 2D screenings available. Not because people are feeling ill, but because people's viewing tastes are diverse, you see.
While 3D has been a popular option for animated films and blockbuster action movies over here, in China it's actually the dominant format of movies. The vast majority of Chinese movie screen are only about 10 years old and 80% of them are 3D capable. When China allows western movies to make the jump overseas the nation actually requires that a certain percentage of them be 3D. It was likely for this reason that Universal went to the added expense of doing post-production 3D work on Jason Bourne just for China.
As popular as 3D films may be in China, it does seem like Jason Bourne is an odd choice for the conversion. However you feel about the frenetic editing and pacing of the Bourse series, isn't it fairly clear to everybody that 3D is not the thing that particular style needs to add? It's also worth wondering just how good the 3D conversion actually was. Was the same amount of time and effort put into a conversion that was only seen in one country, regardless of its size?
For whatever it's worth, the 3D problem does not appear to have caused a significant problem for Jason Bourne's opening weekend. The film reportedly grossed a bit over $25 million since Thursday, which is a solid, if not amazing number for a western box office release in China.
Is a 3D Jason Bourne making you nauseous just thinking about it or are you frustrated that the 3D version wasn't released here? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.