Marvel's latest MCU blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War is doing so well that it was just granted a rare extension of its Chinese theatrical release. With a current worldwide total gross of nearly $16.8 billion over the course of 19 films, it's no secret that Marvel Studios' interconnected superhero franchise has staked its claim to the top of the box office mountain. Not even Star Wars - Disney's other mighty franchise - can boast that kind of cumulative haul, although to be fair, there's only been 10 theatrical Star Wars films made to date, 11 if one counts the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
In recent years, foreign markets like China and have become an increasingly bigger share of the moviegoing marketplace when it comes to tentpole Hollywood product. This makes perfect sense, as big budget action, adventure, fantasy, and sci-fi films tend to translate over to other cultures pretty easily. No matter what language a viewer might speak, they can still fully appreciate a badass fight scene or a huge explosion, irrespective of whether they enjoy reading subtitles to understand the dialogue.
However, despite the size of China's potential audience for any particular film, the country generally limits the length of Hollywood film releases in the country, reportedly to allow homegrown movies to find an audience without getting crowded out by the likes of Iron Man and Luke Skywalker. Still, rules are made to be broken, and this particular regulation is no different. According to Deadline, Avengers: Infinity War has just been granted a 30-day extension of its Chinese theatrical tenure.
Avengers: Infinity War will now continue to screen theatrically in China until July 9, presuming a further extension isn't granted, which isn't likely to happen. The film was originally set to leave theaters this weekend, under the original release deal. The Marvel Studios hit currently sits on a total of about $360 million from the Chinese market, and is now likely to cross $370 million after this weekend. Infinity War was already projected to cruise past the $2 billion worldwide mark soon, but with it sticking around in China, it'll probably pass that milestone even faster.
Disney is developing a good track record with such release extensions in China, which makes sense when one considers their level of overall influence in the film industry. If anyone has weight to throw around, it's Disney, no matter the country. Other relatively recent Disney extensions include 2017's Coco, and 2016's Zootopia. If past is prologue, one assumes that Avengers 4 will probably be a lock for similar treatment next summer, although Ant-Man & The Wasp and Captain Marvel seem less likely to receive it.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019