The long-awaited “Avatar” sequel will debut in mainland Chinese theaters on December 16, according to a statement from 20th Century Studios on Wednesday.
The movie company announced on its official Weibo account that “Avatar: The Way of Water” will be released in China on the same day as everywhere else.
It has become one of the few international films to enter the Chinese market in recent months, joining “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Sony Pictures and the newest installment in the “Minions” franchise.
Due to strict limits on the number of international films that can be shown and the fact that many of them are blocked due to content that Chinese regulators deem objectionable, foreign films have long struggled to secure release dates in mainland China.
Blockbusters from Hollywood have recently had an especially difficult time acquiring approval to screen in China. The six most recent Marvel films were not released in China, and “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” was also refused distribution there earlier this year.
Along with an increase in Chinese studios producing their own versions of the high-octane blockbusters American studios are known for, there has been more scrutiny of Hollywood movies.
Chinese moviegoers have proven to be interested in watching more Chinese-centric stories on the big screen. Popular Chinese productions include the “Wolf Warrior” franchise and last year’s breakout success, “The Battle at Changjin Lake.”
However, tight COVID-19 curbs have affected the Chinese movie sector because Chinese ticket sales for the first time surpassed U.S. ticket sales in 2020. Across the nation, theaters are routinely asked to halt operations or set a limit on patronage.
People are avoiding going to the movies in numerous locations around the nation, especially as the number of cases rises.
According to Chinese cinema analytics app Dengta, China’s overall box office revenue for this year has barely hit 28.27 billion yuan ($4 billion). It is a significant decrease from 2019’s 64.15 billion yuan or even from 47.04 billion last year. (Reuters)