20th Century Fox’s effects-heavy sci-fi action film, “Alita: Battle Angel” has secured a theatrical release in mainland China. It will play in February as the first Hollywood title to enter Middle Kingdom theaters after the Chinese New Year holidays.
The Feb. 22 date is more than two weeks after the film’s commercial run begins Feb. 5 in Singapore. It comes only a week after the film’s North American outing.
Although director Robert Rodriguez and the cast are not well-known in China, the film’s screenwriter and producer, James Cameron, is highly regarded, thanks to “Avatar” and “Titanic.” Cameron, who has visited China on multiple occasions, including to the Beijing film festival, is expected to be a centerpiece of the promotional campaign. The digital marketing is expected to lean on new media rivals Taopiaopiao, part of Alibaba, and Tencent.
China’s movie industry regulators usually reserve the Chinese New Year season for the release of Chinese-language titles. This year, the period is expected to be especially packed with some of the biggest local titles of the year. Valentine’s Day, on Feb. 14, is also an important marketing hook for the release of local films in Chinese theaters.
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“Alita: Battle Angel” is based on the first three books in a manga series written by Yukito Kishiro and originally released in Japan as “Gunnm.” It features a cyborg girl who begins to suspect her surrogate father and cyborg doctor of a series of crimes. But later she joins his quest for justice and unlocks her full powers.