Earlier this week, China began reopening movie theaters in response to the decline in the number of COVID-19 cases throughout the country. Now that the virus has been all but contained over there, the local film industry is hoping to draw an influx of moviegoers with new showings of big-name features. Via The Hollywood Reporter, Chinese theaters will screen Avatar and all four Avengers installments in an effort to boost box office profits.
After the coronavirus broke out, the Chinese government imposed myriad restrictions on its citizens in order to contain the disease. Those strategies seem to have paid off: somewhere between 600 and 700 Chinese theaters are now back in business. Additionally, there may be more classic titles re-released before this year’s films get back on the schedule.
In the meantime, American movie theaters remain under lock and key (though apparently some drive-ins are still open for business). Countless U.S. film and TV productions are also still enduring the harsh reality of indefinite postponement. The Avatar sequels and virtually every upcoming Marvel Studios project have delayed filming until after the crisis passes. Regardless, both Marvel and Avatar have proven to be big earners in China. Avengers: Endgame added over $600 million to its box office tally when it was released in the country last year. Additionally, Avatar made over $200 million in China in 2010.
As THR notes, the re-releases will also reignite the box office war between Avatar and Endgame. Avatar memorably held the worldwide box office crown for nearly 10 years with a gross of $2.744 billion. However, Endgame pushed it to the number two spot last summer after racking up $2.798 billion globally. It’s a narrow margin, so anything can happen.
The Chinese re-releases of Avatar and the Avengers films are still without official dates.
What do you make of China’s plan to screen these movies? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!
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