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‘Incredibles 2’ to Make June Theatrical Debut in China

Brad Bird’s long-awaited “Incredibles 2” is set for a theatrical release in China on June 22. The franchise’s first installment was released worldwide in 2004 and in China in 2005.

Incredibles 2” is produced in 2D and 3D versions by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. Revenue sharing imports of Hollywood films are handled in China by state-owned distributors.

Unusually for China, the film is expected to be screened with a Pixar-made short film ahead of the main feature. The short, “Bao” which means bun in Chinese, is a story of a lonely Chinese mother and a steamed bun.

The timing puts the China release a week behind the North American outing on June 15, and some Asian territories including Hong Kong, Singapore and The Philippines on June 14, but still in the first wave of releases. The film does not play in the U.K. until July 13, and in Japan until Aug. 1.

Disney has also secured a date for the film before the traditional summer blackout period when only Chinese-language films are allowed fresh releases.  Depending on the number of local films seeking slots, the blackout period can last from mid-July to mid-August. Local sources say that over 100 local and foreign titles will open in Chinese theaters between June and the end of August.

“Incredibles 2″s English-language voice cast is a starry lineup including: Samuel L. Jackson, John Ratzenberger, Sarah Vowell, Craig. T Nelson and Holly Hunter in returning roles. Catherine Keener, Isabella Rossellini, and Sophia Bush appear as new characters. Bird voices the Edna Mode character.

Disney has enjoyed growing success in China with its animation titles, though not always with Pixar-made pictures. Walt Disney Pictures’ “Zootopia” earned a massive $235 million. Last year “Coco” obliterated Pixar’s record in the Middle Kingdom with $189 million. Another benchmark is Illumination Entertainment’s “Despicable Me 3,” which last year grossed $158 million in China.

In a completely different era for Chinese box office, “The Incredibles” was released in Jan. 2005. and earned RMB20 million. At exchange rates prevailing at the time that was $2.4 million.

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