Avatar IMAX 3D Tickets Selling Well in Shanghai

Peace Cinema (和平影都) in Raffles City (People’s Square) is the place to see Avatar (阿凡达) in IMAX 3D in Shanghai, but it’s still hard to get tickets, days after the Sunday midnight opening. I went tonight, hoping to pick up a pair of tickets for sometime in the next week, but the theater only sells two days in advance, and all popular times were sold out. You can see the crowd in the picture below. The crowd never got too big, because everyone kept showing up, finding out it was sold out, and then leaving unhappily.

Avatar 3D IMAX, Shanghai

Avatar 3D IMAX, Shanghai

Tickets there range from 30 RMB (non-IMAX) to 50 RMB (IMAX, morning), to 150 RMB (IMAX, prime time on weekends). The soundtracks are all English, with Chinese subtitles. The theater’s (?) website has the price list for the current day.

Avatar has been out on DVD in the streets of Shanghai for a while, but I’m still patiently waiting to experience IMAX 3D for the first time (eventually).

Jan. 7 UPDATE: A friend of my wife offered to buy tickets for us. She showed up at 7:30am to get in line. The theater opens at 9am. When she arrived, there were already 200-300 people in line, some of whom had been there since 4am. Still, with so many showings every day, and a pretty decent capacity, you’d think that person number 300 could still get tickets. No dice. Everyone was buying up lots of tickets, so the theater was sold out of Avatar 3D IMAX tickets by the time our friend’s turn came.

I just found out that the theater is raising prices to 180 RMB per ticket next week. Suddenly I’m losing some of my enthusiasm for Avatar in Shanghai…

Jan. 11 UPDATE: Over the weekend the price rose again from 180 RMB to 200 RMB, caused a furor, and then was changed back to 150. Also, the sale of tickets was opened up for all of January, after which all IMAX 3D tickets promptly sold out. (I’m OK with this; I gave up on IMAX and watched it in regular 3D yesterday. It was awesome.)


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I used to live just down the road from there! I miss Shanghai.

  2. It’s definitely worth seeing in 3D, because the 3D special effects are pretty much all it’s got – the plot is dreadfully lame and predictable. I’m always the guy who hates the summer blockbusters, but in this case – possibly for the first time ever – I think the effects make the movie worth seeing even despite the disappointing script.

    We’ve now definitely arrived at the time when if you can imagine it, they can do it.

    I’d like to hear your review, especially how the movie seems from a chinese point of view. To guilty, post-industrial westerners living in suburbs, there’s some automatic sympathy for these giant smurfs living in harmony with nature. I wonder if the Chinese see it the same way?

  3. Buuu that means we have to wait for another week! Don´t worry Alto we will get them!

  4. de BRAS s Says: January 6, 2010 at 1:20 pm


    上周我才在北京买的周末黄金时段的3D票 原价150 注册个会员就半价嘹


    效果很不错 可是看完了 我第一次觉得很多时候人也是很讨厌很自私的动物


    给个网址你 http://www.wangpiao.com/ ^_^

    = =!

    3楼莫非是 SpanishPod 的 Liliana 喽?

  5. de BRAS a,

    Yeah, good idea, but I’ve just never had trouble buying movie tickets in Shanghai before.

    I just heard today this is another option for buying them online:


  6. Now I feel very lucky to be living in a rather small country where you don’t have thousands of people queing to get tickets for Avatar 3D 😉 Seen it several weeks ago, in 3D, on a Sunday morning, and the theater was only half-full. Having said that, I’d really like to sacrifice that opportunity to “living in China again”, I miss the country (and my friends there) so much !


  7. de BEAR s Says: January 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    de BRAS a ??????

    • -! oh my dear God I misspelled my name!!!! …>﹏<…

    It should be — de BEAR s

    The TEDDY BEAR is Forever —– de BEAR s


    emmm… say Jonh, tickets were sold out on [gewara.com] today, did you get any ?

  8. Online chinese sources, according to my chinese housemate, say there is some serious scalping going on – some people paying several fold that peak price of 150.

    I wanted to wait for the cinema release, but I caved in, and faced with the alternative options of studying chinese or writing up a lit review all afternoon …well, you know.

    The interpretation of the plot seems to be of much interest:


  9. hobielover Says: January 7, 2010 at 4:10 am

    @Matty K: That’s interesting. I hadn’t really thought about how the movie would be interpreted in other countries, though America isn’t the only place that has aborigines.

    I went to a theater in my little town, where they didn’t show it in 3D, but it was the first time I’d been to a theater in ages, so it didn’t matter that much.

  10. @John
    Gewara looks great, but when I was looking for tickets for opening night, nearly every listing was incorrect in some way. After calling the theaters directly I found out that either the price, or the language, or both listed on Gewara were incorrect. Picking the seats is rad though. Just make sure to call and double check on the info.

  11. Are the DVD versions in 3D? I’ve kept my glasses in hope 🙂

  12. Well, i think it’s been overhyped in China. Constant media bombardment and hard-to-get ticket will sure catch local attention.

    I watched it in Xujiahui on Tuesday, cool 3D effect. But if you grew up playing pc games or reading books in sci-fi/fantasy theme, nothing you haven’t seen.

    Having said that, i’m planning to see it second time in 3D glory (the one i saw is 2D). And since Pasden has brought it up, see it in IMAX 3D. I’m aiming for weekend morning session a few weeks from now. 现在跟别人抢,没意思。

  13. AllSeeingEye Says: January 7, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    I saw it in 3D in HK and it’s worth it. But not as amazing as it was hyped up. My best 2009 alien flick is still District 9.

    3D DVD? I don’t think so. Maybe 3D BlueRay. 3D needs 2 completely separate movies on the disc. And you need a 3D TV too.

  14. OMFG thanks for the heads-up. Already seen it but guess I’ll wait a while to see it in IMAX.

  15. he he he…

    The Chinese do capitalism better than we do. What the market will bear….

  16. It’s not just Shanghainese buying up the tickets, I have read online of people around Jiangsu making the trek to Shanghai for the IMAX 3D version. For instance, in Nanjing we have the 3D version, but not on the IMAX.

  17. 3D TV isn’t required as long as you are happy to use glasses. I’m also not convinced you’d need two copies of the movie. Will have to investigate this further as 3D TV launches here in the UK this year.

    The trouble is, there are just so many ways you can do 3D, not aware of any standards yet.

  18. I went to the IMAX theater over by the east gate of People’s University in Beijing today at around noon to purchase 4 tickets for one of tomorrow’s shows. No luck. All shows are sold out through next Friday. I’ve decided to wait until late February to go see Avatar. Zhang Yimou, you sell-out, eat your heart out!

  19. de BEAR s Says: January 8, 2010 at 5:59 pm


    Yeah! District 9 ~ Great movie!

    I guess I expected tooo much from Avatar, so, just felt abit disappointed after the film ended…

  20. For those who bought the 3D DVD (FAKE) and kept there glasses…. ohhh ya of course your normal home TV will show it in wonderful 3D quality NOT

    The movie is just Brill!!!! worth the cost to watch it on the BIG screen

  21. Now all tickets in Peace Cinema till the end of the month are sold out. Sigh!

  22. Tried to buy tickets today for tomorrow’s showing at a theater in Xi’an, just to find out that the theater doesn’t sell advance tickets, only day of shows. Guess I have to go there early tomorrow to get a couple tickets.

  23. Watching Avatar in China… familiar experience?

  24. […] Sinoplice: Avatar IMAX 3D Tickets Selling Well in Shanghai Аватар, билеты, кино, фильмы […]

  25. 200RMB for a ticket…..that SHOULD cause an uproar….nearly $30 for a movie ticket is crazy

  26. […] in China until January 2, and from what I hear about it, it’s unlikely that I would have been able to see it at that […]

  27. Yep as Bill said above, a 3D Tv is not required for watching 3D – its the glasses. Hence the current 3D madness here in the U.S where the upcoming Superbowl will have a commercial in 3D and secondly the Grammys next Sunday will have a Michael Jackson tribute song televised in 3D. In both these upcoming television events they are publicizing FREE 3d glasses for the general public (at supermarkets etc)

  28. Update: It is easier to buy tickets now, although one has to book tickets at least a week in advance for weekend shows. There are lots of scalpers there. They will try to push tickets for as much as twice the price. So, a 150 RMB ticket will set one back as much as 300 RMB. Wow! They must be making lots of money.

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