'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy may be re-released in China following 'Avatar' to get a piece of pie after film peak period in Chinese New Year
Published: Mar 10, 2021 07:18 PM
Avatar Photo:VCG


Following the news that 2009 sci-fi epic Avatar will be re-released in China on Friday, rumors that The Lord of the Rings trilogy of films would be next also began spreading around the internet, igniting the passion of Chinese moviegoers in the wake of the record-breaking Chinese New Year box office.

Chinese experts expressed their confidence that Avatar would regain its crown as the highest-grossing film in the world, as it only needs $7.4 million to topple Avengers: Endgame

"It might only take two to three days to catch up," Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghai, told the Global Times, noting that the hashtag "Avatar to be re-released in China" quickly rose to No.3 on Sina Weibo's trending charts after the news was announced on Tuesday, which shows the Chinese audience's high regard for the film.

According to Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan, the pre-sales for the re-release reached 652,400 yuan on Wednesday while the film's screen share hit 13.5 percent. 

Shi Wenxue, a film critic and teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times that theaters have experienced a huge change over the past decade as IMAX theaters have been introduced and the number of 3D theaters is soaring, so moviegoers who are interested in the film and fans of Avatar could take the opportunity to see the film on an IMAX screen for a better viewing experience.

"The tickets for this version are usually more expensive, which could help Avatar harvest a satisfying box office in China and return to the world No.1 at the box office," Shi echoed Xiao's view. 

On Wednesday, some Chinese netizens found on Chinese review site Douban that the films in the The Lord of the Rings trilogy had also been marked as "re-screening in China." But no specific dates have been provided yet. 

Some netizens suspect that the re-release of these classic foreign films reflect a slowdown in releases in the Chinese mainland film market following the coveted Chinese New Year window.

Chinese blockbusters Hi, Mom and Detective Chinatown 3 both announced extensions to April 11 and April 10 on Monday and Tuesday respectively. 

"The re-released films and the extension of the two Chinese films are all rescue measures taken by the movie market in the wake of the Spring Festival boom," said Xiao.

However, Shi said the drought is mainly due to the COVID-19 global pandemic holding back Hollywood films from being released around the world, including China. 

He pointed out that March to June used to be the peak period for imported foreign films, but with the postponement of the Oscars from February to March as well as the impact of the pandemic on Hollywood in the US, new or award-winning foreign films are not being imported, so distributors have turned to re-releases to fill the empty window.

"When it comes to the summer holiday schedule, some hot Chinese films on the 100 anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China like 1921 will continue the resurgence of the Chinese film market," Shi said. 

Chinese director Chloe Zhao's Nomadland is scheduled for release on April 23, but the related hashtag has been recently withdrawn from Chinese social media, casting a veil of mystery on this movie's release.