Will ‘Wakanda Forever’ and the new ‘Ant-Man’ be hits in China?

China appears to have eased its restrictions on the release of Walt Disney Co.’s Marvel films in the world’s most populous country and its second-largest box office market.

The Black Panther sequel, Wakanda Forever, and the new Ant-Man installment, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, will hit theaters in China on February 7 and 17, respectively, and are owned by Disney Studios via its social media account Weibo in China. The thaw marks the first Marvel Studios superhero films to be released in China since 2019.

Deadline was the first to report the news.

The releases should give Disney and the Chinese market a boost.

Hollywood has struggled with releases in China for several years as the pandemic slowed film studios’ rollout of blockbuster films. Political tensions have prompted China, which tightly controls which films can be shown in the country’s cinemas, to limit US imports in recent years.

Improvements in local filmmaking also began to crowd out competition from US films as audiences gravitated towards local dishes, with support from Beijing.

However, China continues to prove that it can generate huge box office receipts for US films. Disney’s 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of Water has grossed $215 million in the country alone, according to data provider Comscore.

“This may have opened the door for Disney to release their Marvel movies there,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “It’s a vital marketplace; In the past, you had to have China to be successful worldwide.”

“Wakanda Forever” was released in November in many countries, including the United States. The film, starring Ryan Coogler, has grossed $837 million in ticket sales worldwide. The third Ant-Man feature film, starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly, is slated for a US release next month. Marvel movies like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Black Widow didn’t have releases in China. Sony Pictures and Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home has also been blocked from entering China.

Other US feature films released in China in the last year include Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World: Dominion and Minions: The Rise of Gru.

Times contributor Stephanie Yang contributed to this report.

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2023-01-17/china-welcomes-marvel-movies-back-with-release-dates-for-wakanda-forever-ant-man-3 Will ‘Wakanda Forever’ and the new ‘Ant-Man’ be hits in China?

Sarah Ridley

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