China has officially begun reopening cinemas for the first time since January, now that the coronavirus seems to be mostly contained. In a bid to lure people back to movie theaters, the country is preparing to re-release two of its highest-grossing films of all time, Avengers: Endgame and Avatar, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
Between 600 and 700 smaller cinemas are once again open for business in China. None of the larger, nationwide chains have begun resumed airing films, but it appears to be only a matter of time.
It will take a while for the Chinese film industry to rebuild. Regulators are hoping to get a boost by turning to tried and true films like those from the superhero genre. Endgame isn’t the only Avengers movie set to be re-released. The country is planning to return all four of Marvel’s Avengers films in addition to Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and Inception.
One exciting thing about this re-release is that it will position Avengers: Endgame and Avatar in another head-to-head “all-time box-office” race.
The move is likely something Nolan would support, as he recently penned an open essay urging audiences to consider supporting cinemas the moment they reopen to ensure they survive the current public health crisis.
“Re-releasing fan favorites can mean big business in China. Back in 2012, a 3D re-release of James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’ earned $145 million. In 2018, Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 classic ‘Spirited Away’ earned $69 million from a China rerelease,” says The Hollywood Reporter.
The decision to bring the Avengers films back to theaters seems like a smart move since the franchise has earned more than 1.3 billion dollars in China alone. Avatar also raked in billions when it was originally released, making over $2.7 billion worldwide. As for Inception and Interstellar, both movies have strong followings and earned a staggering amount at the box office when they first debuted.
There are no official dates set yet for when these movies will make their way back to the big screen in China, speaking to THR, a source from one of the country’s biggest cinema operators said they would be made available as soon as the film’s Digital Cinema Packages are reach theaters. The source also stated that the
Depending on how China’s moviehouses fare in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, the United States may copy their strategy.
Many experts are still debating how the cinema industry will look on the other side of the ongoing crisis. It certainly helps that Hollywood studios reportedly receive 25 percent of Chinese movie ticket sales as part of the 2012 U.S.-China trade deal.