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Box Office: Three Oscar Best Picture Contenders and ‘Dolittle’ to Release in China in February

February is set to be a busy month for Hollywood in China. “Jojo Rabbit,” “Little Women,” “Marriage Story” and “Dolittle” will all get their crack at the world’s second largest film market next month, Chinese reports confirmed on Tuesday. The news comes just after the big reveal that three Oscar best picture contenders rank among this year’s most decorated films, boasting 18 Academy Award nominations between them.

After screening as the opening film at the International Film Festival and Awards Macau in December, Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” will get a limited China release on Feb. 12, three months after its early November U.S. debut. It received six Academy Award nods for best picture, supporting actress, adapted screenplay, film editing, costume design and production design. Waititi’s “Thor: Ragnarok” brought in $112 million in China in 2017.

Next up is Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women,” which will hit China in wide release on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, less than two months after it opened on Christmas Day stateside. The film is up for six Oscars as well: best picture, best actress, best supporting actress, best original music score, best adapted screenplay, and best costume design. Gerwig is little known in China, where her films have not made it to cinemas.

Her partner Noah Baumbach’s Netflix-backed “Marriage Story” will enjoy a wide release scheduled for Feb. 28. It is also up for six Oscars in the best picture, actor, actress, supporting actress, original music score and original screenplay categories. Chinese distributor Road Pictures has brought the film to China. The firm previously has found success in shooting distinguished arthouse titles, including “Shoplifters” and “Capernaum,” to unlikely box office heights in China.

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The less decorated but fresher “Dolittle” is also set to hit on Feb. 21, about a month after its Jan. 17 North American release. It was directed by Stephen Gaghan and stars Robert Downey Jr., who is well-known in China for his work as Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where the films like “Avengers: Endgame” have been hits of historic proportions. Sources close to Universal have indicated that Downey will visit China in support of the release.

The films will all release after the Academy Awards on Feb. 9, and will have to hope that any wave of Chinese interest in Oscars won’t be drowned out by the homegrown tentpoles that will dominate the market over Chinese New Year. At least six Chinese-made blockbusters and franchise movies are set to release January 25. Last year, Oscar best picture winner “Green Book” was released on March 1, the same week as the Oscars, and became an unexpected hit, grossing $71 million.

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