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‘Kong: Skull Island’ Locks in China Theatrical Release Date

Variety logo Variety 2/8/2017 Patrick Frater
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Legendary Entertainment’s “Kong: Skull Island” has secured a theatrical release slot in mainland China, the world’s second largest entertainment market. Also newly confirmed is James Mangold’s “Logan.”

“Skull Island” is set for release in China on Friday March 24. That puts the outing only two weeks after its March 10 debut in North America and other major territories including the U.K. “Logan,” will hit Chinese screens one week earlier on Friday March 17. Its China opening is also some two weeks after its release in international territories on March 2 and 3.

They join other prominent Hollywood titles including “A Dog’s Purpose” and “Beauty and the Beast” now with forward dates.

Release dates for foreign movies are decided by government regulators in negotiation with the studios, but often dates are not locked in until six weeks before the film’s outing. The Hollywood studios are not permitted to set up their own releasing structures in China. Hollywood studio pictures that enjoy revenue sharing status under China’s import quota are generally released by one of two state-owned enterprises, China Film Co. or Huaxia Distribution.

Legendary, which is now owned by China’s Dalian Wanda, has a strong recent track record in Middle Kingdom theaters. Its “Warcraft” grossed $221 million to be the third largest film of 2016. Its Zhang Yimou-directed “The Great Wall” was released in mid-December and has grossed $170 million to date.

Chinese regulators previously set a March 3 date for “Lego Batman” and “A Dog’s Purpose.” They also approved Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” for March 17.

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