Chinese authorities appear be delaying the summer blackout period for revenue-sharing movies from June-July to September.
According to local distributors and exhibitors, the months of September and October will be reserved for locally-produced films celebrating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
It’s unlikely that any major Hollywood blockbusters will be released during these two months, a Beijing-based cinema manager told Screendaily.
However, Hollywood films stand a chance of being released during the lucrative summer months of June-July, which in previous years have been reserved for local films.
Paramount’s Transformers: Revenge Of the Fallen and Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince are both aiming to go day-and-date, or at least close to day-and-date, in mainland China.
According to China Film Group, Transformers is in the process of getting a screening permit for China, but the company did not confirm the release date. Beijing-based cinema owners say, if all goes to plan, the film is likely to be released between June 26-28, just two to four days later than its US release.
Exhibitors say they have also reserved July slots for Harry Potter which is also going through the censorship process. The global release date of the film is July 15.
The so-called black-out period, also known as the “national film protection month”, has been a regular practice in mainland China for the past few years. It is seen as a measure to ensure screening opportunities for local films.
Traditionally, the month-long black-outs take places in December, during the summer in June/July, and in October when China celebrates National Day.
Many of the country’s state-owned studios have started shooting films celebrating the 60th anniversary of communist China. These include China Film Group’s The Great Cause Of China’s Foundation, which features major stars such as Andy Lau, Ge You, Zhang Guoli and Vivian Wu.