Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” will debut in China on April 11, marking the first time a film by the writer-director will screen in that nation.
The violent western, a box office hit for its backers Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Weinstein Co., has so far grossed $241 million overseas and $161 domestically.
It’s unknown how long a run “Django” will receive in China, but most foreign films screened there are limited to a one-month engagement by the Chinese government.
But U.S. movies can still garner a tidy return in a limited run: Ang Lee’s Oscar-winning "Life of Pi,” for example, took in $90.8 million in China over the course of one month.
“Django,” for which Tarantino recently won the Oscar for original screenplay, has star power that could attract Chinese audiences. The movie features Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, who won the Academy Award for supporting actor for his portrayal of a bounty hunter working in the South in the late 1850s.
It’s not clear how the graphic film, which centers on a former slave’s quest to free his wife from a cruel plantation owner, will resonate with Chinese audiences. It is expected to get a wide release in the country.
Los Angeles-based business consultant Stanley Chao, author of “Selling To China: A Guide to Doing Business in China for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses,” believes that Chinese audiences would have no trouble connecting with the issue of slavery in America and would support the movie.
“The Chinese in general know about America’s past -- they know about the bad things.” Chao said. “They learned about slavery and the Wild West in school. If they hear about a U.S. movie that has violence and gun-slinging, that will make them interested to see it.”