A trio of studio movies has received China release date confirmations for next month, including new films Ambulance and The Bad Guys, as well as last summer’s Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions.
Universal’s Michael Bay-directed Ambulance, which began early offshore rollout last weekend and bows domestically on April 8, is now dated for April 22 in China. Uni/DreamWorks Animation’s The Bad Guys — which likewise released in a few markets last session before hitting North America on April 22 — is due on April 29 in the PRC. Respectively, those movies made $4.3M and $8.4M in their early overseas launches.
Sony’s Escape Room: Tournament Of Champions, whose global cume is $55.8M, originally released pretty much everywhere outside China in summer last year and is now set for the PRC on April 2. This is a huge delay, to be sure, but the topsy-turvy nature of China’s dating process in the past year also means it’s not such a big surprise. In late 2021, movies from other studios like Disney’s Jungle Cruise and Paramount’s Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins were granted access to Chinese screens well after their original runs. Speculation had been that China was either trying to plug a Covid hole, or show at least some sort of ongoing openness to Hollywood.
More recently, the once lucrative market has been dating Hollywood titles closer to their domestic rollouts, including Warner Bros’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets Of Dumbledore which will bow in the Middle Kingdom on April 8, before North America.
Unfortunately, and it’s unknowable how long this will last, China is in the throes of a Covid spike with about 52% of the market’s cinemas currently closed. The surge clipped the wings of Warner Bros/DC’s The Batman which came out of the gate last week with strong social scores but has only edged to RMB 94M ($14.8M) through Thursday local time. Overall, that movie will not suffer from a soft China landing
Meanwhile, Roland Emmerich’s big-budget sci-fi disaster pic Moonfall starts its China run tomorrow.
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