As China looks to re-open its cinemas, possibly by the end of this month, Warner Bros today announced on its official Weibo account that Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone is to return to the market, though no date has been set. This follows our report yesterday that Hollywood studios have been approached to bring catalog films back to the Middle Kingdom as it works to get back on its feet after being shuttered since the Lunar New Year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Magic is coming!” says WB’s Weibo post, in what will be a remastered 4K 3D version. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone (which is also known as Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone overseas) was originally released in 2001 and went on to make over $978M worldwide. The Potter movies have grown in popularity in China as the market has expanded. Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part II became the biggest grosser of the series there at $61M in 2011 — a time when the Middle Kingdom was hardly the major it has grown to be, but was the film’s 5th biggest offshore hub.
Also as we noted yesterday, China’s theatrical re-opening will come in waves, the first being the re-release of older local titles, including blockbusters Wolf Warrior 2 and The Wandering Earth. Mtime, citing officials in Beijing, now reports that other films in the initial batch will include 2015’s Wolf Totem and 2018 Oscar nominee Capernaum. Chinese exhibitors will keep 100% of the box office on those re-releases and have been encouraged to set attractive pricing. Beijing had previously set out safety guidelines for cinemas to prepare for the smooth start of business under the conditions allowed by the epidemic prevention and control situation.
A second wave of titles could come in mid-to-late-April, including Hollywood movies that were cleared pre-shutdown like 1917, Dolittle, Ford V Ferrari, Jojo Rabbit, Bad Boys For Life and Sonic The Hedgehog.
We hear that other catalog titles such as the Avengers movies, Interstellar, Inception and more have also been discussed as possible re-releases in an effort to get moviegoers back in the mood for going to the cinema. Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone looks to be the first library pic confirmed.