China has reopened its doors to Disney’s Marvel Studios for the first time in almost four years In 2018, two new film releases were secured in the world’s second largest film market.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens in China on February 7, about three months after its worldwide release, while Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania opens on February 17, Marvel Studios said. The announcement was made on Chinese social media on Tuesday.
According to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, this is the first time a Marvel movie has hit the domestic big screen since “Spider-Man: Far From Home” released in July 2019.
Since then, Marvel’s final eight films haven’t played domestically, but that number will drop to seven with the release of the upcoming “Black Panther,” Delgarabedian said. Those include ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ and ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,’ which debuted elsewhere in 2022.
Marvel’s predicament has been part of a wider slowdown in China for Hollywood producers.
Last year, blockbusters like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” didn’t make it to the screens.
According to Dergarabedian, the challenge for US studios can be attributed to a number of factors, from “Chinese regulators’ overall lack of foreign films to concerns about individual films.”
But he suggested that the latest news could indicate that better times are coming between Hollywood and China.
“The symbolic importance of these measures to increase the number of US films released in China is certainly a positive sign,” Delgarabedian told CNN.
He said one of the reasons Marvel is witnessing a reversal of fortunes is Disney’s successful release of Avatar: Path of Water.
The film premiered in December and is one of the few foreign films to hit Chinese cinemas in recent months.
it has soon become box office revenue. “Avatar” grossed over his $1.9 billion worldwide, making it the sixth highest-grossing release of all time, according to Comscore data. China contributed his $217.4 million to total shipments.
“The opening of the doors to Disney’s Avatar: Path of Water has benefited both the Chinese studio and exhibition communities,” Dergarabedian said of cinema operators. and said. “This may have played a part in this welcome change in the playability of Marvel movies in this country.”
Chinese box offices typically make billions of dollars a year.
In 2020, cinemas were able to recover from the early stages of the Covid pandemic faster than North American cinemas, making them the world’s largest movie market. This trend continued in 2021.
Last year, the balance tipped again. U.S. movie theaters have bounced back, but China has continued to maintain a strict “no coronavirus” policy, leaving many cinemas to a standstill. This puts him ahead of the North American box office again in 2022, with him generating more than $7.5 billion compared to her $4.4 billion in China, according to Comscore data.
The lack of US films showing in China in 2022 will also have a negative impact on earnings in China, as reflected in a 40% drop in overall box office receipts compared to the previous year. ” said Dergarabedian.
But “2023 is shaping up to be a much stronger year overall for theaters around the world,” he said. It’s great for audiences, theater owners and, of course, fans.”
— Juliana Liu contributed to this report.