by James Cameron avatar 2 was unlucky to release in China, the world’s second-largest film market, just as a devastating wave of COVID-19 infections was engulfing the country. Now, it is getting a little lucky.
Beijing’s film regulators on Tuesday granted the Disney hit movie a rare 30-day release deadline to screen on Chinese screens, two sources in Beijing with knowledge of the decision told Reuters. know. Hollywood Reporter.
China’s film import system allows foreign films to be shown in the country for 30 days. avatar 2 premiered in China on the same day as North America on December 16, so its initial release was set to expire on January 15. The film grossed only $200 million in the country, becoming a success. Hollywood’s best performance in the pandemic era, but far less than initially forecast, due to the ongoing COVID outbreak.
avatar 2 is sure to see the screen market share plummet when a series of popular Chinese blockbusters release on January 22, the first day of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday. The most famous among China’s new candidates is Wandering Earth 2, the prequel to China’s first domestic sci-fi blockbuster, made $700 million in 2019. But even that Cameron epic might hold a small slice of the show. China’s huge film exhibition budget during the holiday season, it could generate tens of millions of dollars more in ticket sales, insiders say. The film has earned a huge social score among Chinese viewers — 9.1 out of 10 on top local ticketing apps Maoyan and Taopiaopiao, and 8 out of 10 from influential review site Douban — and Cameron’s event films are notoriously slow and lengthy to build.
Film character in Beijing contacted by CHEAP on Tuesday said they were shocked by the late call from the Film Bureau to provide avatar 2 additional time. While Hollywood films are occasionally given extended release dates, Beijing often blocks all foreign films from showing during China’s key national holidays, giving the domestic industry the freedom to control the box office. Hollywood has long protested that such “banning” of the release is uncompetitive and contrary to China’s World Trade Organization obligations — always to no avail.
“It was a strange decision,” said one exhibition operator when asked about screen-sharing rates avatar 2 can be expected to hold during the holiday. “We don’t know,” they added.
A Disney representative in Asia confirmed the release extension on Tuesday night.