‘Avatar 2’ Gets Rare China Release Expansion During Lunar New Year Holidays (Exclusive)

by James Cameron Avatar 2 was unfortunate enough to release in China, the world’s second-largest film market, just as a devastating wave of COVID-19 infection engulfed the country. Now that’s a bit of luck.

Film regulators in Beijing granted the Disney tentpole a rare release extension on Tuesday to run on Chinese screens for another 30 days, two sources in Beijing with knowledge of the decision said. The Hollywood Reporter.

China’s film import system grants foreign films permission to screen in the country for 30-day blocks. Avatar 2 launched in China day and date with North America on December 16, so its original release was set to expire on January 15. The film grossed just under $200 million domestically, Hollywood’s best local performance in the pandemic era, but far less than originally expected, due to the ongoing COVID outbreak.

Avatar 2 will undoubtedly see its screen share plummet when a series of high-profile Chinese tentpoles are released on January 22, the first day of the week-long Chinese New Year holiday period. Most prominent among the new batch of Chinese suitors is Wandering Earth 2, a prequel to China’s first domestic sci-fi blockbuster, which grossed $700 million in 2019. But even if Cameron’s epic may retain a small chunk of China’s massive holiday film exhibition spending , it could generate tens of millions in additional ticket revenue, insiders say. The film earned disproportionately high social scores among Chinese viewers – 9.1/10 on major local ticketing apps Maoyan and Taopiaopiao, and 8/10 on influential critics page Douban – and Cameron’s event films have the reputation for being slow and long.

Cinema personalities in Beijing contacted by THR Tuesday said they were shocked by the Film Office’s late call to give Avatar 2 additional time. While Hollywood films sometimes get release extensions, Beijing usually blocks all foreign films from showing during important Chinese national holidays, giving the domestic industry carte blanche at the box office. Hollywood has long protested such broadcast “bans” as anti-competitive and contrary to China’s World Trade Organization obligations – still to no avail.

“It’s a strange decision,” said an exhibition director when asked how much screen sharing Avatar 2 one might expect to hold during the holidays. “We don’t know,” they added.

A Disney representative did not respond to THRrequest for comment.

More soon…

Source: www.hollywoodreporter.com


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