Directed, co-written and produced by James Gray (“The Lost City of Z,” “Two Lovers”), the thriller also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland and Ruth Negga. Pitt plays an astronaut who goes off in search of his lost father, who manned an expedition 30 years previously and whose work may now be threatening the fate of the universe.
The movie was co-financed by China’s Bona Film Group, which holds Greater China rights. Bona was also the backer of Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which also stars Pitt, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio. “Once Upon a Time” was scheduled to hit Chinese theaters in late October, but its release was indefinitely postponed after Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon complained to Chinese authorities about her father’s portrayal in the film.
“Ad Astra” premiered in the main competition at the Venice Film Festival in August, and was released theatrically stateside by 20th Century Fox in September. It earned $50 million in the U.S. and has grossed $127 million globally so far.
In China, its top competitors in its opening weekend will be Chinese director Diao Yinan’s “Wild Goose Lake,” which played in competition at Cannes in May and has nearly 100,000 users on the Maoyan ticketing platform who have indicated interest in seeing the film, and Chinese thriller “The Whistleblower,” which has 32,000 people marking their interest. In contrast, “Ad Astra” so far only has 2,000 fans, and only a little more than two weeks to build a following.