'Robocop' to release in Asia ahead

HONG KONG — The upcoming Jose Padilha-directed “RoboCop” retread is set to be released by Sony Pictures Releasing International in a large chunk of the world before it arrives in the U.S. – with Asia getting it first.

The film will lead off in Malaysia and Singapore on Jan. 30, with Taiwan on Jan. 31, Indonesia and The Philippines on Feb.5, followed by Australia, New Zealand and Russia on Feb 6. In total some 33 territories will have opened it before the North American outing on Feb. 12

Is this a case of “Robophobia”? In the online version of the film’s current trailer Samuel L. Jackson’s character asks “Why is America so robophobic?”

More likely an explanation is that the “RoboCop” machine is fine-tuned for sensibilities in those markets where action and clashing metal work best, and another quote from the online trailer may be the goal: “We are going to make a lot of money.” The online clip appears to set the movie as a mash up between “Iron Man,” “Transformers” and “Avatar,” all of which played very strongly in Asia.

Moreover, exhibitors in South East Asia see the juggernaut as strong enough to open at Chinese New Year (aka Lunar New Year), the prolonged public holiday period in much of Asia, which in 2014 starts on Friday Jan. 31.

SPRI takes “RoboCop” out in Hong Kong, South Korea and Thailand on Feb. 13 with India on Feb. 14, making it a Valentine’s Day treat for some. The film does not yet have a firm date in mainland China, but Sony will give it push in Japan on Mar. 14.

MGM has the film in other parts of the world including West Europe, where it will open in France on Feb. 5 and the U.K. on Feb 7.

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