TriStar Pictures film “The Woman King” has been given official permission to release in cinemas in mainland China. It is expected to debut on April 14.
The Viola Davis-starring fantasy action film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September last year and went into U.S. and international commercial release shortly after.
The film has grossed $97.2 million worldwide, with $29.9 million coming from international markets and $67.3 million in North America.
While the China release is significantly later than the rest of the world, potentially opening the film to online piracy, the launch date was communicated by Chinese authorities with some five weeks of advanced notice. That is more than many Hollywood films have received in China and gives the local marketing teams a reasonable chance to promote the film’s theatrical launch.
Hollywood films have begun to trickle back into mainland Chinese cinemas after a near drought in 2022 and an unofficial ban on Marvel-branded movies that ran from mid-2019 until early 2023.
With the exception of “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Hollywood films have largely under-performed in their comeback. “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” is the highest-grossing this year with a cumulative of $37 million after three weekends on release.
Others released and upcoming include “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (released on Feb. 3 and grossing $15.7 million to date); “The Son” (Feb. 24, $220,000); “M3gan” (March 17); “Shazam! 2” (March 17); “Dungeons & Dragons” (March 31); and “Super Mario” (April 5).
“The Woman King” is the story of the Agojie, the all-female unit of warriors who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s with skills and a fierceness. Inspired by true events, it follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca (Davis) as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life.
It is directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood with a story by Maria Bello and Dana Stevens and a screenplay by Dana Stevens. It was produced by Cathy Schulman, Davis, Julius Tennon and Bello. Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and John Boyega also star.