'Jason Bourne' Secures China Release Date

Courtesy of Universal Pictures
'Jason Bourne'

The release date is further evidence that Chinese regulators are relaxing their prior policy of blocking Hollywood films from the market during the blockbuster summer months.

Universal's Jason Bourne has scored a release in China on Tuesday, Aug. 23, about three weeks after its North American debut. The studio revealed the date over Chinese social media service Weibo, adding, "Sorry to make you wait so long!"

Earlier industry buzz had suggested the latest Bourne picture would debut in China in early September. The Bourne bow will come shortly after the China release of Universal's Secret Life of Pets, which opens on Aug. 2. The early August date for Pets has been viewed as evidence that Chinese regulators are relaxing their prior policy of blocking Hollywood films from the market during the peak blockbuster season of July and August. The notorious policy was designed to give local Chinese productions a boost by clearing out competition. In 2015, the blackout period ran until Aug. 23, when Terminator Genisys opened.

After the Chinese box office suffered an unexpected slowdown this Spring, insiders say regulators may be bringing in a couple Hollywood titles over the summer to hedge against the possible continued under-performance of local movies.

The fifth film in the Bourne series marks the return of Matt Damon and director Paul Greengrass to the franchise. The prior installment, The Bourne Legacy (2012), starred Jerry Renner and was directed by Tony Gilroy. Alicia Vikander, Tommy Lee Jones and Vincent Cassel make their Bourne debuts in the new movie.

Damon's star is on the rise in China. His last major release, The Martian, was a big hit there, grossing $94.9 million. Following Jason Bourne, he'll next appear in Great Wall, the biggest China-U.S. co-production ever made. Directed by Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou and produced by Legendary Entertainment, Le Vision Pictures and China Film Group, the high-concept sci-fi monster spectacle was shot in China on a budget of $160 million. It opens in the U.S. on Feb. 17, 2017.

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