Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne movie is making people sick to their stomach in China and moviegoers want their money back. According to various news reports, the problem lies with the 3D version of the 2016 film.
That version of the Matt Damon film premiered in China on August 23 and let’s just say the 3D version wasn’t digested well. It’s the fifth movie in the Jason Bourne franchise, but it may be the last Matt Damon movie that Chinese audiences are willing to go see in 3D.
According to The Hollywood Reporter (THR), Chinese viewers complained of nausea and vomiting during the movie, and they’re posting negative reviews of the latest Jason Bourne film on Weibo, a very popular social media network in China.
“I really felt sick during the fight scenes when I watched it in 3D,” said a film-goer whose username was “azooombie” on Weibo. “It was like a low-budget movie. I need to watch again in 2D.”
— Zesty Movies (@zesty_movies) August 27, 2016
Quartz also quotes another user who said, “There were a line of people throwing up in the restroom of the cinema I went to yesterday…I’m not exaggerating.”
3D movies are actually very popular in China, The Hollywood Reporter notes. More than 80 percent of the Communist nation’s movie screens were built with 3D display capabilities. So it’s not like the Chinese don’t like 3D movies. They just don’t like this one.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, this has everything to do with how Jason Bourne (2016) was made.
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As Patrick Brzeski writes for THR, the movie, directed by Paul Greengrass, used a lot of handheld camera work and a hyperactive editing style. This means a lot of shaky camera footage which doesn’t translate well when it’s converted to the 3D format.
Both the 3D and 2D versions of the Jason Bourne movie initially did well in China, and it raked in approximately $12 million when it premiered in China on Tuesday, The Hollywood Reporter notes. This is an all-time franchise high for the Jason Bourne movies. However, Chinese moviegoers soon started complaining that the 3D version of the Matt Damon spy film was making them sick and that the tickets for this version were too expensive. There were also claims that tickets for the 2D version of the movie were difficult to obtain, thereby forcing Chinese audiences to choose Jason Bourne 3D.
The 3D Jason Bourne film is being specifically shown in Asia with screenings in the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Hong Kong and China. Jason Bourne 3D has not been released in North America or Europe.
— Screen Rant (@screenrant) August 26, 2016
According to The Global Times, a Chinese newspaper, disgruntled Jason Bourne audiences are organizing protests, claiming they were unfairly fleeced by the studio and distributors behind the franchise. In Shanghai, only nine cinemas out of over 170 showed the movie’s 2D version. In Beijing, it was eight out of a possible 149. To make matters worse, the 2D screenings were held in cinemas that were far away from the city or only showed the film early in the mornings or late at night.
“The 3D version is a ripoff. It’s been happening many times in China and must be stopped,” a Jason Bourne movie fan named Zhou Yuchen said in an interview with The Global Times on Thursday.
But on a more positive note, it looks like something is being done about the nauseating Jason Bourne situation in China. The Universal Pictures’ China office posted a note on its Weibo account, stating that they are trying to add more 3D screenings for the Matt Damon movie. Also, according to The Global Times, managers at Beijing’s major cineplex have said that they received the 2D encryption key for the film on Wednesday and will either add more 2D screenings or replace 3D ones.
“Please don’t offer 3D just to grab money anymore,” one Chinese blogger wrote under the statement from Universal China, according to Quartz. “Chinese people are not stupid, we can vote with our feet and money.”
As Quartz notes, due to the huge popularity of the 3D movie format in China, Hollywood Studios have been adding 3D effects to their films. But sometimes the results are vomit inducing, which is what happened to Jason Bourne 3D.
The Jason Bourne franchise started in 2002 and is based on a series of books by Robert Ludlum. It follows a former CIA agent trying to piece together damning truths about his past and the people he worked with.
[Photo by Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images]