Superman film Man of Steel will have a one-month run in Chinese cinemas, beginning June 20, ensuring a box office bonanza for one of Hollywood’s biggest summer blockbusters.
With access to the China market increasingly important in bringing in big box office numbers, Hollywood studios are carefully watching the release dates set by China Film Group, which runs a unit in charge of film distribution throughout the country.
Star Trek Into Darkness is currently playing in China and After Earth, Pacific Rim, Monsters University and Fast & Furious 6 are tentatively scheduled for release in July.
3D films and sci-fi adventure films have done particularly well in the China market, including last year’s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
China allows in only a limited number of foreign-made films every year, but co-productions with Chinese content have more open access to the country.
Sino-U.S. co-production Man of Tai Chi, a martial arts film that is the directorial debut for Keanu Reeves, is debuting July 5 and will play opposite Man of Steel, along with So Young, a drama that is the directing debut for Chinese actress Vicki Zhao.
Man of Steel is the latest take on the Superman story, with Henry Cavill as the man himself and Zack Snyder directing. Warner Bros. hopes the film will prove it was right to back its series of DC Comics-based films. It opens in Canada June 14.
Another big blockbuster, World War Z starring Brad Pitt, has not yet gained access to the China market.
The Wrap is reporting Chinese censors have rejected the film, though the studio has not confirmed a decision from China Film Group. The zombie blockbuster, said to cost more than $200 million, ran afoul of Chinese censors earlier this year when a scene showed characters indicating China on a map as the source of an outbreak. That scene had to be reshot.