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Malignant, director James Wan’s much anticipated return to the horror genre, has scored a rare day-and-date streaming release in China.
The film will launch on Chinese streaming channels on Friday, Sept. 10, the same day it debuts in U.S. cinemas and over HBO Max. Chinese film financier Starlight Media, which co-produced the film with Wan’s Atomic Monster and New Line Cinema, made the arrangements for the online Chinese outing.
Starring Annabelle Wallis as a woman beset by horrific dreams, Malignant is believed to be the first R-rated U.S. horror movie to ever score distribution in China, where such content is seldom able to clear censorship. Scary movies like Paramount’s A Quiet Place franchise have occasionally scored releases in China, but they have always been PG-13 titles. Starlight says it worked closely with Wan to make a few judicious cuts to the film that made the China release possible.
Starlight partnered with prominent Chinese digital distributor Jetsen Huashi on the release. Starlight’s Beverly Hills-based CEO Peter Luo negotiated the arrangements with Jetsen’s Beijing-based chief executive Tonggang Chen.
Malignant will stream in China simultaneously on the video platforms of six major internet companies and telecoms, including iQiyi, Huawei, China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom and China Broadcast Network.
Starlight’s relationship with Wan stretches back to 2016, when the Hong Kong-listed company made its first splash in Hollywood by signing a development deal with the in-demand director and his Atomic Monster banner. Malignant is the first major project to emerge from that partnership, with Starlight positioned as the film’s lead investor.
Based on an original story by Wan, Ingrid Bisu and Akela Cooper, Malignant stars Wallis as Madison, a woman paralyzed by shocking visions of grisly murders, which she soon discovers are actually shocking realities. Maddie Hasson, George Young and Michole Briana White co-star.
Malignant debuted in 24 markets last weekend, representing 38 percent of the business, for a total international cume of $2.4 million on 1,893 screens. An additional 45 markets are scheduled to open Friday, including North America, Russia, the U.K. and Latin America.
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