'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Lands Christmas Release in China

Screen Gems’ summer sleeper hit 'Searching,' starring John Cho, has also locked down a December release date in the Middle Kingdom.

Sony's animated superhero film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has locked down a holiday-season release date in China, the world's second-biggest box-office territory.

The film will open in the Middle Kingdom just prior to Christmas on Dec. 21, one week after its North American debut on Dec. 14.

Christmas isn't a national holiday in China, of course. Instead, the festive season has become something of a date occasion in the country, with young Chinese couples celebrating by going out for dinner, exchanging gifts or catching a movie.

The Spider-Man franchise has had a strong year in China, with the iconic character holding a central role in Marvel and Disney's Avengers: Infinity War, which is the top-earning U.S. title in the Middle Kingdom of 2018 with $360 million; and Sony's franchise spinoff feature Venom earning $215 million there so far. 

Into the Spider-Verse has generated fan excitement with an animation style that evokes the feel of classic comic book panels more than any superhero title to date.

The film introduces Brooklyn teen Miles Morales, and the limitless possibilities of the Spider-Verse, where anyone can wear the mask. It stars Shameik Moore as Miles Morales and also features Jake Johnson as Miles' mentor, Peter Parker/Spider-Man; Hailee Steinfeld as the classic Spider-Man character Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen; Mahershala Ali as Miles' uncle Aaron; Brian Tyree Henry as Miles' father, Jefferson; Luna Lauren Velez as Miles' mother, Rio; and Lily Tomlin as Peter Parker's beloved Aunt May.

Directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman from a screenplay by Phil Lord and Rothman and story by Lord, the film is produced by Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie21 Jump Street), Avi Arad, Amy Pascal and Christina Steinberg. 

Sony and Screen Gems' summer sleeper hit Searching has also secured a late China opening date of Dec. 14.

The thriller, written and helmed by Asian-American filmmaker Aneesh Chaganty in his feature directorial debut, tells the story of a 16-year-old girl who goes missing and her father's (Korean-American actor John Cho) effort to find her. Michelle La, Debra Messing, Sara Sohn, Joseph Lee and Ric Sarabia star alongside Cho.

The film did big business in South Korea over the summer, earning $22.6 million of its $70.4 million worldwide gross to date there.