In China, the Hollywood blockbusters The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises were forced to face-off in theaters on the same day.
The state-owned movie distributor, China Film Group, assigned the same release date to the two films in order to limit the success of American movies while boosting the revenues of locally produced Chinese films, according to the L.A. Times.
Zhang Hongsen, deputy head of the film bureau controlled by the State Administration of Radio Film and Television told the state-owned People’s Daily newspaper, “We hope those protective measures will be able to create a space for domestic movies to survive and grow.”
The Amazing Spider-Man defeated The Dark Knight Rises as the two superhero films competed for viewers in the country with the second largest movie market. Although China has such a large population of moviegoers, Spiderman’s box office victory over The Dark Knight Rises wasn’t amazing at all.
They Sony Pictures film grossed an unimpressive $5.46 million after playing in 2,515 theaters on Monday, while Warner Bros.’ “The Dark Knight Rises” dragged in a measly $4.45 million from 2,400 screens. Since the spider-man movie was boosted by its 3D offerings, it can be argued that the two films performed on par with each other. Still, it was very evident that their simutaneous release had a very negative impact on revenue.
The Amazing Spider-man and The Dark Knight Rises are not the first Hollywood films that were forced to split their target audience by Chinese officials. In July, the animated movies Ice Age: Continental Drift and The Lorax” were force to go head-to-head which resulted in very weak numbers for Lorax ($2.2 million).
Next month, the thrillers The Bourne Legacy and Total Recall are expected to open together according to a L.A. Times source. If this is the case, it’s safe to say the Chinese shackles on Hollywood films won’t be broken anytime soon.