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Disney Marvel’s upcoming mega-tentpole Avengers: Infinity War has secured its release date in China, the territory all but certain to be the film’s second-biggest market.
The film, directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and featuring most of the Marvel pantheon, will unfurl in the Middle Kingdom on May 11, two weeks after its North American debut on April 27.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is Hollywood’s biggest overall franchise in China by far, challenged only by The Fast and the Furious and past enthusiasm for the Transformers movies. Avengers: Age of Ultron earned $240 million in the country in 2015, setting a slew of records at the time. Captain America and Iron Man movies also have been huge earners, while other MCU character titles consistently pull in more than $100 million.
In the past couple of years, Disney has been able to secure day-and-date releases for many of its biggest tentpoles in China. But it appears Beijing regulators were unwilling to budge on their usual blackout policy, which allows only locally made Chinese films to open over important national holidays. This year, Chinese Labor Day falls on Monday April 30 and Tuesday May 1, creating a long weekend. How much the delay in release will impact Avengers 3, if at all, is hard to say, but opening over the holiday weekend almost certainly would have added to the box-office bonanza. Black Panther recently was delayed in a similar way by Chinese New Year (it has earned $105 million to date).
Disney is planning a major Avengers Tour at the Shanghai Disney Resort on April 19 to promote the release. No word yet on exactly which talent will be on hand for the extravaganza.
Infinity War reunites the Avengers gang and friends, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), as they join forces with the Guardians of the Galaxy crew — Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista and Bradley Cooper — to stop the evil intergalactic despot Thanos (Josh Brolin). Other characters from the MCU making a play include Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston).
Marvel president Kevin Feige has said the film will have big ramifications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so much so that the title for 2019’s Avengers 4 has not yet been revealed, as the name itself would be a spoiler.
See Disney’s special Avengers: Infinity War poster for the China market below.
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