While studios don’t expect cinemas to fully open for months in the United States (hence the delayed release dates for Black Widow and Furious 9, among many others), more than 500 theaters in China are back in business. But even though the number of coronavirus cases has diminished, there’s understandable concern about sitting in a window-less room with strangers for two hours. So, to get people paying too much for popcorn again, four Avengers movies and Avatar are being re-released in Chinese theaters.
Variety reports that “China Film Group, the state-owned giant that controls distribution of all revenue-sharing Hollywood movies, and also dominates physical distribution in the Middle Kingdom, last week contacted exhibitors with a list of 11 titles that it wants to re-release.” Those titles include The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War, and the two highest-grossing movies ever, Avengers: Endgame (the Marvel Cinematic Universe is huge in China, unlike Star Wars) and James Cameron’s Avatar:
Contacted by Variety, sources close to Disney in Asia said the studio is not involved in the re-releases, and that these are matters decided on by China Film. More than 500 cinemas have already reopened their doors. But takings have so far been minimal. Larger numbers of theaters could re-open in the next month as China re-emerges from the national and state restrictions on movement.
Look, I’m not saying this is all part of James Cameron’s master plan to make Avatar the top-grossing movie of all-time again, but I’m also not not saying it. It could happen!