After it seemed like studios would have to learn to make do without the box office boost provided by Chinese releases, one of Hollywood’s most vital foreign markets now appears to be back in the cards for one of the industry’s biggest and most powerhouse franchises.
Many box office prognosticators sounded the alarm bells during a lengthy dry spell between 2019 and 2023, which featured no Marvel Studios films (along with several other high-profile, major blockbusters) receiving crucial distribution in the largest foreign market on Earth. Things finally changed when both “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” secured releases in China in recent months, opening up another important revenue stream from a nation with well over a billion residents and the most amount of movie theaters of any nation in the world. Now, that streak looks to continue with Marvel’s next highly-anticipated production: the James Gunn-directed “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.”
The news comes courtesy of Deadline, which reports that the upcoming trilogy-capper will officially receive a day-and-date release in China when it debuts in the first week of May later this year. While that’s certainly good news for Disney and its investors, the Chinese marketplace has become a radically different place than it was pre-pandemic. As much as Hollywood has come to rely upon China and other markets to goose the numbers for increasingly expensive blockbusters (in case you missed it, /Film’s Ryan Scott has recently written at length about the industry’s need to curtail budgets), Deadline also points to the fact that neither “Quantumania” nor “Wakanda Forever” managed to live up to past Marvel films’ performances among Chinese moviegoers.
Will “Guardians” succeed where its most recent peers flamed out?
A Changing Marketplace
Remember the days when blockbusters like “Pacific Rim” could be saved from flop status and even justify a sequel thanks almost singlehandedly to their performance in China? Pepperidge Farm remembers, but those franchise-saving performances have become much more of a distant memory in the intervening decade. For the Marvel Cinematic Universe, China’s box office has typically represented a cherry on top of their already-profitable sundae, rather than a must-have market to barely nudge their films out of the red. But even that luxury has been denied of late, as the Chinese government has refused to approve any Marvel release since “Spider-Man: Far From Home” in June of 2019 for a number of factors (which /Film’s resident box office guru Ryan Scott went into further detail here).
The third time just might be the charm, however, as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” now looks to succeed where both “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” failed to make waves in China in the last few months. James Gunn certainly has the advantage of history on his side, as Deadline notes that both previous “Guardians” movies performed like gangbusters in 2014 and 2017, respectively. With months of hype and the steadily-building narrative that “Vol. 3” will mark the end of this group of Guardians, it’s well within the realm of possibility that Chinese audiences will once again turn out for the final adventure of Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, Zoë Saldaña’s Gamora, and the rest of the team of lovable “losers.”
Only time will tell if the Chinese market ever becomes the dependable good luck charm it used to be with U.S. movies. Fans won’t have to wait much longer, as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” arrives in theaters on May 5, 2023.
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The post Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Will Be Getting Released in China appeared first on /Film.
/Film – Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3 Will Be Getting Released In China
Author: Jeremy Mathai
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March 17, 2023