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‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Lands November China Release

Warner Bros.’ “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” is one of six Hollywood films set to get revenue-sharing theatrical releases in China in November.

The J.K. Rowling-penned fantasy will be released in on China on Nov. 16, the same day as its release in the U.S. Other Hollywood films receiving Chinese outings in November are Dreamworks’ “The House With a Clock in Its Walls” (Nov. 1), Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” (Nov. 2), Sony’s “Venom” (Nov. 9),  Disney animation “Ralph Breaks the Internet” (Nov. 23) and the previously announced “Crazy Rich Asians” (Nov. 30). Warner’s “Aquaman” is set for release Dec. 7. The dates were announced by Motion Picture Assn. Asia-Pacific Managing Director Michael Ellis on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

The seven titles will be imported under China’s quota rules and receive releases through Chinese state-owned distributors. The Hollywood studios are not permitted to directly release their own titles in the Middle Kingdom.

The seven additional titles will lift the number of quota imports to 32 so far this year. China and the U.S. are committed to an annual quota of 34 revenue-sharing imports per year, in addition to a further slate of film imports which are handled on a flat-fee basis.

It’s unclear whether the target of 34 will be reached by the end of December. That would put 2018 behind previous years, according to data in a recently published report by U.K.-based research firm IHS Markit, which showed that China imported 38 revenue-sharing films in 2016 and 40 in 2017, including titles from the U.S., India, South Korea and France.

Negotiations between the U.S. and China on a renewal and possible expansion of the quota regime are ongoing, but currently slowed.

“It is possible that China intends to open the market more, or test the market, but the government doesn’t want to make it official yet due to the tension between USA and China,” said Xin Zhang, IHS Markit’s senior analyst for film and cinema.

“The door remains open to our pictures. And (our studios) are getting paid,” Ellis said Tuesday at the U.S.-China Entertainment Summit, hosted by the Asia Society, in Los Angeles.

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