TORONTO - Lionsgate has a green light to release The Hunger Games in China.
The teen tentpole, which has already grossed $620 million in worldwide box office, will screen in the fast-growing Asian market in the first half of June.
That’s a coup for Lionsgate as the Suzanne Collins books, on which the Hunger Games movie franchise is based, have not sold as widely overseas as in North America. Getting the Lionsgate title into China, and also coming up in Japan, gets Hunger Games into an even bigger world market than the one earlier primed by the book series.
And Lionsgate is betting that Chinese cinema-goers that see The Hunger Games will also be more likely to see the Catching Fire sequel, should it also get approval for a release in China.
The Hunger Games release, in both dubbed and subtitled prints, will be executed by The China Film Group and Lionsgate partner Talent International.
"China is already one of the leading territories at the international box office, and the launch of The Hunger Games in this key market is another sign of the franchise's continuing emergence as a truly global phenomenon,” Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairs Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman said in a statement.
The China release will take place under new blockbuster revenue sharing rules unveiled in February that allow Hollywood studios and other foreign distributors to collect up to 25 percent of a film's receipts in that market.