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HONG KONG – Robert Downey Jr. will attend an event set within Beijing’s Forbidden City complex on April 6 to launch a month-long promotional blitz of Iron Man 3 in China before its release in the country in early May.
A source close to the event told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor would be in the Chinese capital for the whole day, with his appearance at the evening event possibly preceded by meetings with the local press.
It is understood that Iron Man 3 also will “have a presence” at the Beijing International Film Festival, which runs April 16-23 – leaving the possibility open for the film to be make its bow at the Chinese capital before it is to be released on staggered dates during the last week of April and the first week of May. The film is slated for a May 3 opening in the U.S., with a same-day release in China yet to be confirmed.
A joint production of the Disney-owned Marvel Pictures and the Beijing-based DMG Entertainment, Iron Man 3 largely has been shaped with the Chinese market in mind, with several scenes shot in Beijing and a cast featuring A-listers Fan Bingbing and Wang Xueqi.
The film also reflects a tie-in promotional deal between Marvel and Chinese electronics manufacturers TCL – an agreement that led to additional shooting last month at Los Angeles’ Chinese Theater, which recently has been rechristened the TCL Chinese Theater after a $5 million, 10-year branding deal.
Proof of the production’s enthusiasm to court Chinese audiences was seen through the release of a trailer fashioned especially for the country — in which Fan and Wang re featured, as well as a scene where Iron Man is seen in front of groups of cheering Chinese children at the touristic landmark of Yongdingmen.
While Hollywood producers have made overtures to try and break the Chinese market for years, the Chinese box-office success of Titanic 3D and Life of Pi has strengthened the resolve of many U.S. studios to focus more attention on whipping up media frenzies for their offerings in the country.
The Hollywood Reporter has learned that the film’s co-production status has yet to be cleared with the mainland authorities. DMG CEO Dan Mintz told THR last year that the film was seeking that qualification, which would allow the film to circumvent the country’s annual import quota and also bring in a larger share of local box office receipts for its international investors.
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