Yao documentary to open today
Zhou Zuyi/Shanghai Daily news
One of the city's top
sports stars is set to make his big screen debut in Shanghai today when a
documentary about his life opens at local cinemas.
"The Year of Yao," a look
at Yao Ming's first year living in America and playing in the NBA, will play at
a dozen theaters in the city, including Studio City on Nanjing Road W. and the
Paradise Warner in Xujiahui.
The Chinese mainland premiere of the 90-minute
film drew a full house in Beijing yesterday, but distributors are keeping the
movie's Shanghai debut low key.
"No special promotions are planned by the
distributors for the film," said Zhang Yi, a clerk at Studio City. "That makes
it hard, I think, for the movie to compete against other summer
The digital film, which will only be shown in cinemas with
IMAX facilities, was a flop in the United States, where it took in only
US$26,000 in box office receipts when it opened in 12 theaters in April. The
movie, which was produced by the NBA's entertainment arm, earned good reviews in
the United States, although many critics said it didn't look deeply into issues
like race and culture.
Yao's huge following in the city should ensure a large
audience for the film.
"This is something one can't miss out on as a Yao
supporter," said Cao Zhanghua, a high school student and basketball fan. "I
think many of the fans will be interested to take a retrospective look into
Yao's journey to superstardom."
Yao was supposed to take part in the film's
premiere in Beijing yesterday, but had to cancel due to a schedule conflict. He
is in the capital for a basketball camp with several other NBA stars. "I
recommend all my fans watch it," Yao said in Beijing on Wednesday. "In
China, you don't look back on your life until you are into 50s or 60s. But the
producers argued that it made sense to document a very special chapter in my
life when the memories of it are still fresh."