On Friday, my boyfriend and I attended the first midnight screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a group of friends. We browsed movie times as soon as pre-sale tickets became available, located a cinema with Dolby Atmos surround sound, and got a special deal for just RMB 63 per seat – all from WeChat Wallet. (Rest assured, the rest of this article contains no spoilers.)
1. To book movie tickets on WeChat, first go to WeChat Wallet under “Me.” Select “Movie Tickets.”
2. By default, the home screen shows a list of movies that are currently playing. The posters help, but it’s best to know the Chinese name of the film you want to see. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is translated as 星球大战：原力觉醒 (xingqiu dazhan: yuan li juexing).
To see a list of movie theaters instead, select the projector icon at the bottom of the screen (影院 yingyuan).
3. Click on the movie you want to see. You’ll get a listing with a synopsis, screenshots, trailers, and reviews. To buy tickets, click on the green button at the bottom of the screen (立即购票 liji gou piao).
4. You must now choose a movie theater. This can get really confusing, so be sure to have the name of your local cinema in Chinese; enter it into the search bar at the top of the screen or scroll down until you see it in the list.
Popular cinemas listed in WeChat Movie Tickets include:
- Megabox Sanlitun 美嘉欢乐影城三里屯店
- Lumière Pavilions (Parkview Green) 卢米埃北京芳草地影城
- UME International Cineplex (Shuangjing) UME国际影院（双井）
- Saga Cinema (Solana) 传奇时代影城
- Broadway Cinematheque (MOMA) 当代MOMA百老汇电影中心
5. Once you find a cinema, choose a time and date. Screenings shown in Dolby Atmos are labeled with a little “Atmos” icon.
6. Select your seats. The nifty system doesn’t allow any gaps between seats, so get ready to cuddle up with your neighbors.
7. Check your order, then pay through WeChat Wallet by tapping the green button (立即付款 liji fukuan). Enter your mobile number into the field at the bottom of the screen to receive any updates about the screening via SMS.
Note that movie tickets can’t be returned or exchange.
That’s it! When you get to the movie theater, either pick up your tickets at the customer service counter or print them out from the dedicated machine.
Sijia Chen is a contributing editor at beijingkids and a freelance writer who has covered travel, tech, culture, parenting, and the environment. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, The Independent, the Beijinger, Midnight Poutine, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @sijiawrites or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Pascal (via Flickr), screenshots by Sijia Chen