Clint Eastwood’s “Richard Jewell” will hit a portion of Chinese theaters on Jan. 10, 2020, screening via the country’s National Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas. China has almost no dedicated art house theaters, and the Alliance seeks to rectify this by screening such films on a circuit of some 3,700 screens within commercial theaters — a small fraction of the country’s more than 70,000 screens.
“Richard Jewell” was distributed in the U.S. by Warner Brothers and stars Paul Walter Hauser as the titular character, as well as Kathy Bates, Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde and Sam Rockwell. The biographical drama tells the story of Jewell, a security guard who found a bomb threatening the 1996 summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia and diffused the situation, only to later be wrongly accused of having planted it himself. Bates has received a best supporting actress Golden Globe nomination for her role.
The $45 million-budgeted film was first released stateside Dec. 13 and saw one of worst openings for an Eastwood-directed film in four decades, grossing an unfortunate $5 million from 2,502 theaters in its debut and looks set to lose millions unless figures perk up. It will remain to be seen whether China sales can help make up some lost ground.
This could be unlikely, if Eastwood’s China box office performance so far this year is any indicator. “The Mule,” which Eastwood both directed and starred in, also received a limited China release this past August through the Alliance. But the tale of an old man desperate for money who gets wrapped up in trouble after he becomes a drug courier transporting cocaine, grossed just $1.5 million.
In 2016, the Eastwood-directed “Sully,” which starred Tom Hanks and Aaron Eckhart, grossed $8.99 million in China.