'Angels & Demons' to close Shanghai fest

Latest Dan Brown adaptation still awaiting general release

More Shanghai festival news

SHANGHAI -- Sony's "Angels & Demons" on Sunday will become the first foreign movie to close the Shanghai film festival -- though it has not yet been cleared for commercial release by the Chinese authorities.

The studio is hoping that a positive reception for the movie will ease its passage through censorship and approval, enabling it to bag one of the 20 slots per year in the country's import quota. "The Da Vinci Code" was released in China, although films with religious themes are not always approved for distribution.

Sony is backing up its bid by bringing in top talent including Ewan McGregor, co-star Ayelet Zurer and Michael Rosenberg, president of the pic's producer Imagine Entertainment.

While Ron Howard's previous Dan Brown adaptation "The Da Vinci Code" proved a controversial choice, Sony said that so far only two other countries worldwide have not released the picture – Syria (where it was banned) and North Korea.

Studio sources report that tickets to Sunday festival screenings of "Angels" sold out in a matter of hours.