Disney's 'Dumbo' Set for China Release

With China's holiday blackout on imported films over, high-profile Hollywood titles are lining up for their runs at the country's massive box office.

Disney's live-action Dumbo has locked down its release date in China.

The Tim Burton-directed remake will take flight in China on March 29, day-and-date with North America. 

With China's Lunar New Year holiday in the rearview mirror — Beijing blocks foreign films from release during the lucrative festive season — high-profile Hollywood titles are lining up for their runs at the Middle Kingdom's massive box office.

Fox's Alita: Battle Angel scored a much-needed win in China last weekend with a strong $62 million start. Next up will be Universal's animated hit How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World and best picture Oscar winner Green Book, both opening Friday.

Sources close to the state-backed distributor China Film Group tell The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros.' The Lego Movie 2 is also close to getting final approval for a China release on March 22, some six weeks after its U.S. opening. The title will be looking to build on the somewhat disappointing China performance of The Lego Batman Movie, which brought in just $6.1 million in 2017 (the original The Lego Movie and spinoff The Lego Ninjago Movie were never released in China). The sequel also could benefit from an Alita-like China bounce after opening to just $34 million in North America. As of Sunday, Lego Movie 2 had earned $83 million in North America — a long way's off from the first film's $257 million domestic total.

Green Book, meanwhile, will open with aspirations of capitalizing on its three big wins at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony. Taking home trophies at the Oscars has been known to give U.S. prestige titles a significant boost in China. Alejandro G. Inarritu's gritty survival epic The Revenant earned $59 million there — a record for a Hollywood drama at the time — after Leonardo DiCaprio won best actor honors at the 2016 Oscars. Following its five-Oscar outing in 2017, Damien Chazelle's La La Land pulled in $36 million from China, despite musicals previously having a dismal track record in the country.

China's Alibaba Pictures is a co-financier of Green Book via its partnership with Amblin Partners, which co-produced the film with Participant Media. The Beijing-based company has been hyping its participation in the best picture Oscar winner in the Chinese media. 

"Even though Alibaba Pictures is a relatively new entrant into Hollywood, we have a track record of choosing quality projects that not only have high entertainment value, but also have positive messages we believe in," Zhang Wei, president of Alibaba Pictures, said Monday in a statement.   

Alibaba will be supporting Green Book's China release with its powerhouse ticketing service Tao Piao Piao and various other digital marketing channels.