Lawrence, with Evan Peters, suited up to play Mystique a third time in Bryan Singer’s "X-Men: Apocalypse.”(Alan Markfield / AP)
The China benefit for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” could come at the expense of “Gravity,” as Chinese officials announced that the Lionsgate sequel will debut in the world’s biggest nation just one day after Alfonso Cuarón’s space drama premieres there.
In opening on Nov. 21, the latest “Hunger Games” will be arriving in China even a few hours before the Jennifer Lawrence sequel lands in domestic theaters.
The first movie adapted from Suzanne Collins’ bestselling dystopian thriller series didn’t get to China until almost three months after its U.S. launch, meaning that pirated DVDs of the film were widely available.
The film, released in domestic screens in March 2012, grossed about $27 million in China, a good but not great result.
In a statement, Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairs Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman said, “ ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ has become a truly global phenomenon, and its day-and-date release in this key territory further cements its status as a worldwide motion picture event of epic proportions.”
While the adult-skewing “Gravity,” which is a huge hit with a worldwide gross to date of more than $283 million for Warner Bros., and the teen-powered “The Hunger Games” sequel appeal to different audiences, the proximity of the two films in Chinese theaters will likely hurt both at the box office.
In recent years, Chinese authorities have scheduled some American blockbusters directly opposite each other, in part to depress their ticket sales so that Chinese films will have a larger share of box-office revenues.