‘Arrival,’ ‘xXx,’ ‘Sing’ Get China Release Dates, ‘La La Land’ Heads for Valentine’s Day

A slew of Hollywood movies has secured release dates in the crucial mainland Chinese market. Their box office prospects, however, are unclear given their proximity to each other and the current malaise among Chinese cinema-goers.

Biggest among the confirmed new titles, Donnie Yen-starring “xXx: The Return of Xander Cage” will release in China on Friday Feb. 10, some three weeks after its North American outing. It may benefit from being the first major Hollywood title to release into the market after the Chinese New Year holidays, which are usually reserved for Chinese-language fare.

(One exception this year to the normal blackout is French-Canadian co-production “Ballerina,” getting a Feb. 1 release. Local distributor Hishow told Variety that it is preparing a release with 6,600 DCPs.)

Before Chinese New Year kicks off on Jan. 28, brainy thriller “Arrival” has been given a Jan. 20 release. Like Sony’s “Passengers,” which was belatedly given a Jan. 13 slot, it gives distributors and marketers little chance to build up a major marketing campaign.

Hit animation, “Sing” has been slotted in for a Feb. 17 release in the Middle Kingdom. Only Russia and Japan remain to release the picture in later slots.

Additionally, “La La Land” appears to have cleared censorship and been approved for release in China. The film does yet have a confirmed theatrical release date, though local sources point strongly to a Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) release. Its proximity to the Oscars ceremony (Feb. 27,) where awards are expected, would boost its expected gross. Posters began circulating online this week, albeit without a date.

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