9:09 PM PST 1/3/2017
Sony’s sci-fi romance Passengers finally has a confirmed release date in China, the world’s no. 2 movie market.
The film, which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, will open in the Middle Kingdom on Friday, Jan. 13 — just one week after the China release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
The confirmed date came uncommonly late. China usually announces official release dates for Hollywood studio titles at least four to six weeks in advance. But Sony was confident enough in eventually landing a January date that it sent Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt to Beijing for a promotional event on Dec. 17.
Sony will be hoping that China can help make up for the film’s less-than-stellar performance stateside, where it has earned $66.2 million. Overseas, the film’s total stands at $56.8 million. It had a production budget of $110 million to $120 million after tax incentives and rebates. Critics were not kind.
Passengers has a strong local backer in Beijing, however, thanks to a strategic marketing partnership Sony signed in September with Chinese entertainment and real estate conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, which controls an estimated 16 percent of Chinese movie screens.
Sony had an especially tough 2016 in China, where it was the weakest earner of the six Hollywood studios, with none of its titles cracking the country’s list of top 50 releases.