Kenneth Lonergan’s Oscar-winning, “Manchester by the Sea” has been granted a release date in China at the end of this month. It is the first title to be imported for the National Arthouse Film Alliance.
The Aug. 25 release date comes some nine months after the film was released in North America and more than two months after it was given local approval from China’s censors. The date is the same as that of three other western titles – “Cars 3,” “Baby Driver” and “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” – effectively marking the end of the state-operated blackout period.
“Manchester,” however, is unlikely to have to head-to-head with the commercial titles as it will be principally released in the 100-odd screens in 31 cities operated under the Alliance banner. The Alliance was formed in October last year in order to help improve the chances of art house film and to cater for a broadening of Chinese audience taste. It will handle specialty Chinese and foreign titles, classic titles and theatrical documentaries.
Its members include private sector exhibitors Wanda Cinema Line, Lumiere Pavilions and Broadway Circuit, alongside state-backed China Film Archive and Huaxia Distribution. Online ticketing firm Weying and Jia Zhangke’s Fabula Entertainment are also founder members.
Backed by Amazon Studios after its Sundance debut, the film was released in North America by Roadside Attractions. It grossed $47.7 million in North America and a further $14.6 million in international territories.