EXCLUSIVE: The Point Break remake is about to break new ground. The film from Alcon Entertainment, DMG Entertainment and Warner Bros is headed for an early December release date in China which is somewhat unprecedented on two fronts. On the one hand, while China has approved a bunch of Hollywood movies to open in the Middle Kingdom in November, the following month marks the latest blackout period during which local titles are front and center and studio films are sidelined. Point Break has secured a December 3 release date locally, making it a surprise to others as the last Hollywood movie let in under the wire. Fox’s The Martian has staked out November 25 and Paramount has The SpongeBob Movie on December 1.
Point Break will have two weeks to find an audience before the big kahuna of Chinese movies hits with Qi Shu/Angelababy-starrer The Ghouls on December 18.
Further, in a big departure from tradition, Point Break‘s December 3 release means it will be three weeks ahead of its domestic date. Warner Bros has the Ericson Core-helmed pic Stateside where it is set for Christmas Day, in the wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 18. It also has the UK, Russia, Japan and Latin America. Lionsgate for Alcon is handling the rest of the world. This will be the first time a major studio-affiliated motion picture releases in the Middle Kingdom with such an advance on domestic. Penguins Of Madagascar bowed 12 days before the U.S. in 2014 and Iron Man 3 opened in China two days before it bowed Stateside in 2013.
Opening Point Break early in China is an interesting hedge. In the U.S. and many other major markets around the world, the film will face stiff competition from Star Wars and others that will play around the holidays. In China that won’t be a factor because Star Wars won’t release until January. So, that gives Point Break some paddling room in the market as November films’ runs begin to wind down.
Point Break producers Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson tell me, “We are delighted with this ambitious release strategy, and the opportunity for our epic scaled film to be exposed to a large and enthusiastic audience in China. There has never been a movie like this. The world’s greatest, most daring athletes accomplished the near impossible, executing the most challenging stunts ever committed to film. All of this daring work is wrapped around an intense character driven thriller with phenomenal performances by Edgar Ramirez and Luke Bracey. We could not be prouder of it and our filmmaking partners.”
Alcon is partnered with Beijing-based DMG in financing, producing and distributing Point Break. This is part of a deal that also included Transcendence which crashed and burned last year but made $20M in China, its biggest overseas play. DMG also previously worked with Disney on Iron Man 3 and I’d expect they go big with splashy prerelease events for Point Break as they have to much attention in the past.
The remake of Kathryn Bigelow’s 1991 surfing/crime thriller may also change dates in other Asian markets.
The final stretch of releases in China this year includes Everest which bowed yesterday on every Imax screen available and should trek to a tidy sum. Fox’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and The Peanuts Movie are also due this week while Spectre has a November 13 date followed by The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 on November 20 and then The Martian and SpongeBob.
Along with the anticipated The Ghouls, local films that will look to further crush market share for the year include Jackie Chan’s Skiptrace on December 24; Mr Six with Let The Bullets Fly star and Personal Tailor helmer Feng Xiaogang, also on the 24th; and Ip Man 3 with Donnie Yen on December 25.