The reason for the delay is to avoid competition with foreign blockbusters, according to Beijing-based cinemas. The film was originally scheduled to open in mid-September, but was pushed back so it wouldn't clash with Jiang Wen's The Sun Also Rises, and to give Ang Lee time to deliver a China-friendly edit.
Buena Vista 's Ratatouille will open on October 19 and is expected to perform well as the first revenue-sharing US blockbuster to be released after the month-long black-out that started on September 7.
Currently topping the box office in Hong Kong and Taiwan, Lust, Caution will open in mainland China six weeks later than these two other Chinese-speaking territories. The China version will be seven minutes shorter than original, with explicit sex scenes removed.
The film is expected to boost the market share of Chinese films following a slump in September and October. The overall box office has also been down during these two months when no blockbusters were released.
According to Gao Jun, manager of Beijing-based cinema chain New Film Association, September's box office was down 30% on the same period last year. Box office during the October 1-7 'Golden Week' holiday, traditionally a high season for movies, was down by 20%.
Looking ahead, the last two US blockbusters to be released this year are Fox's Live Free Or Die Hard and Universal's The Bourne Ultimatum, which will open on November 10 and November 20 respectively.
On November 28, black comedy My Name Is Liu Yaojin will kickstart the year-end high season for local blockbusters, which will last until Chinese New Year in February, 2008.
Peter Ho-Sun Chan's The Warlords and Feng Xiaogang's Assembly will open on December 13 and 20 respectively. Aiming for the Chinese New Year holiday season, Stephen Chow's A Hope has been scheduled for January 31. Also scheduled for the same season are Wong Kar-wai's My Blueberry Nights and local parody comedy Big Movie 2.