Four Chinese blockbusters have changed their January release dates to avoid competing with James Cameron’s Avatar, which will go out on January 1.
Zhang Yimou’s remake of Blood Simple has bought its release forward from December 18 to December 11, while Hong King Universe’s The Storm Warriors has shifted its release to December 10. Jay Chou-starring Treasure Hunter will be released on December 9 instead of mid-month as originally planned, snd Ning Hao’s road movie Wu Ren Qu will moved it release by three months to March next year.
Although Avatar is still obtaining its screening permit for China, it cinema circuit managers, including Beijing’s New Film Association and the Zhejiang-based Hengdian Cinema chain, have confirmed that the January 1 slot.
The film expected to be released in 2D, 2D IMAX, 3D and 3D IMAX versions. Chinese cinema managers estimate that if all versions and screen formats are greenlighted for release at the same time, the film’s release will cover 80% of Chinese screens.
The end of year season is a peak time for major releases in China as it covers the Christmas and New Year holidays and extends to Chinese Lunar New Year, which is in February next year. The three month season generates between $200m to $300m in box office gross.
Gao Jun, deputy general manager of new the New Film Association, said: “It is the first time in five years that such a heavyweight Hollywood film released in the year-end season. Its box office impact will be huge.”
Sony Picture’s 2012 and District 9 and Disney’s G-Force are also due to be release in the country in November to catch the beginning of the year-end season.