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January 11, 2010

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Online outrage stops ticket prices rising

TICKET prices for the IMAX screenings of James Cameron's 3D sci-fi epic "Avatar" are to remain at their present level, officials from the Peace Cinema in Shanghai said yesterday.

They had planned to increase the price of evening screenings from 150 yuan (US$22) to 200 yuan.

However, the announcement aroused huge controversy on the Internet with some fans even calling for a boycott of the film.

Cinema officials also said that fans could book tickets using its 24-hour ticket pre-selling service for any IMAX screenings of the movie this month. Previously they could only buy tickets two days in advance.

Wang Bozheng, the cinema's general manager, said they had sold about 20,000 tickets for the IMAX screenings since the launch of the new pre-selling service on Saturday.

"Movie fans are still excited about 'Avatar'," Wang said. "There are few tickets left for January's evening screenings particularly over the weekend and on our half-price days on Tuesday and Wednesday."

Last week, fans in the city formed queued from early morning to buy tickets.

Nick Zheng, an IT worker who successfully bought two tickets for a Thursday evening screening, said the new pre-selling period would be effective in preventing scalping.

"I was very shocked to see some scalpers charging about 400 to 500 yuan extra per ticket on," Zheng said. "That was a deviation from what a movie should provide - simple fun."

"Avatar" will be showing in cinemas in Shanghai for about two months.

But fans shouldn't worry too much if they can't get IMAX tickets. Some experts say sitting in the front rows can make you dizzy and even the film's director said on a visit to Beijing this month that the only difference between IMAX screenings and ordinary 3D screenings was that the movie screen was bigger.


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