×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘UglyDolls’ to Hit China Theaters on August 8

STX Entertainment’s “UglyDolls” is set to hit Chinese theaters on Aug. 8, despite rising tensions between China and the U.S. over their trade war. China’s Alibaba Pictures is a co-producer and co-financier of the film.

The movie was originally announced as having a mainland release date of May 31. No reason has been given for its rescheduling.

Alibaba announced its involvement in the film in January, with the company’s president, Zhang Wei, expressing excitement that the partnership would allow Alibaba to “build out this beloved global intellectual property for years to come.” But the movie flopped in the U.S., where it was critically panned. Directed by Kelly Asbury (“Shrek 2”) on a $45 million budget, and featuring the voices of Emma Roberts, Kelly Clarkson and Nick Jonas, “UglyDolls” has grossed less than $20 million in the U.S. since its May 3 debut.

A China release might help it recoup its losses, but performance of youth-oriented Hollywood content has seen its ups and downs so far this year in the Middle Kingdom. “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu” has grossed $91.6 million so far and was recently granted an extra month in Chinese theaters, but earlier this year, Paramount’s animated feature “Wonder Park” made just $6.78 million in the world’s second-largest movie market.

As the U.S.-China trade war heats up, industry insiders say that China has issued a de facto ban on the promotion and import of certain types of American content, but so far, the theatrical release of Hollywood films appears to continue unabated.

Toy sales were envisioned as a key component of the new “UglyDolls” franchise, with Hasbro the global master toy licensee. Alibaba runs Taobao, the world’s largest ecommerce platform.

More Film

  • wanda Movie Metropolis Qingdao

    Why Simon West is Making Movies in China (EXCLUSIVE)

    British director Simon West (“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Con Air,” “The Expendables 2”) is set to further into the Middle Kingdom at the helm of his second Chinese action-adventure blockbuster. The Wanda-backed “The Legend Hunters,” hits theaters next summer. West was brought onto the project by veteran producer Eryong, who had approached him about a [...]

  • The Eight Hundred

    History Rethink Group Key to 'Eight Hundred' Shanghai Cancellation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Chinese authorities may have abruptly yanked Huayi Brothers’ $80 million patriotic war epic “The Eight Hundred” the day before its debut as the Shanghai Intl. Film Festival’s opening film because it didn’t portray rivals of the ruling Communist Party in a sufficiently negative light, local reports said. Huayi on Friday attributed the cancellation of its [...]

  • Simon West

    Simon West Directing Chinese Tomb-Raid Movie “Legend Hunters’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    The British director Simon West, who made Angelina Jolie-starring “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” is now co-directing a Chinese tomb-raiding film. “The Legend Hunters” is the next instalment in the “Mojin” universe based on the popular fantasy novel series “Ghost Blows Out the Light.” Backed by Wanda Pictures and Beijing-based Saints Entertainment, the film is set [...]

  • Emu Runner

    Sydney Film Review: 'Emu Runner'

    Writer-director Imogen Thomas’ debut feature “Emu Runner” has and probably will play in designated family-themed strands of film festivals, and given its story of a 9-year-old Aboriginal girl who deals with grief in the wake of her mother’s death by bonding with a lone female representative of Australia’s largest native bird species, this programming strategy [...]

  • Sophia Antipolis

    Locarno in Los Angeles Film Review: 'Sophia Antipolis'

    There are two Sophias in French director Virgil Vernier’s clever, cunning, chilling fifth feature. The first is its setting, the eponymous “Sophia Antipolis,” a technology park in the south of France, a place self-consciously designed as an experiment in social engineering, where an international community of professionals would, it was hoped, create an environment of [...]

  • I Lost My Body

    Netflix Pickup ‘I Lost My Body,’ ‘Buñuel,’ ‘Away’ Top Annecy Festival

    ANNECY, France  — Fulfilling expectations, Jeremy Clapin’s “I Lost My Body, the subject of one of the highest-profile Netflix deals at this year’s Cannes, won this Saturday the Annecy Festival’s top Cristal Award of best feature plus, in a relatively rare Annecy double whammy, the festival’s Audience Award. The first was expected, the second a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content