'Green Book' Secures Post-Oscars Release Date in China

Courtesy of Universal Pictures
'Green Book'

The awards season favorite appears to be positioning itself for the kind of post-Oscars box office bump that past U.S. prestige titles have enjoyed in China.

Positioning itself for a post-Oscars windfall, Green Book has locked down a release date in China on March 1, the first Friday following the Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 24.

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. Alibaba Pictures is expected to support the China release with its powerhouse ticketing service Taopiaopiao and various other digital marketing channels.

Following Tuesday's Oscar nominations, Green Book is widely considered a frontrunner in the best picture category. A period-piece dramedy about black concert pianist Don Shirley and his less cultured white driver Tony Lip, the film landed four additional nominations in top categories, including best actor and best supporting actor for Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, respectively, as well as best original screenplay.

Ali is fairly well known in China's cosmopolitan big cities for his role as Remy Danton in Netflix's House of Cards, which became a viral hit in China during its first few seasons.

Green Book will be opening in China over three months after its Nov. 21 U.S. debut, but banking on some awards season glamor for a delayed release could prove a canny move.

Big wins at the Oscars have been known to give U.S. prestige titles a significant boost in China in the past. Alejandro 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 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. Last year, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri scooped up $10.3 million in its post-Oscars China run, more than it earned anywhere else out of the U.S. and U.K. 

Green Book's fellow Oscars hopeful, Alfonso Cuaron's Roma, also is working to secure an Oscars-season release in China.