'Three Billboards' to Get Limited Release in China

Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
'Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri'

Fox Searchlight and its Chinese partners are aiming to capitalize on awards season buzz for the film, timing its release two days before the 90th Academy Awards ceremony.

Awards season favorite Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is set to get a limited release in China on March 2.

The country's growing National Alliance of Arthouse Cinemas, a partnership platform between the China Film Archive and several nationwide private cinema chains, will bring the film out on an estimated 600 screens in 89 Chinese cities.

The NAAC is working closely with Fox Searchlight and China's state-backed film imported and distributor Huaxia Distribution.

A representative for Lumiere Pavilions, one of the upscale private cinema circuits that is part of the NAAC, confirmed the plans to The Hollywood Reporter on Monday.

Directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards won four Golden Globes including best drama and is nominated for nine Baftas. The offbeat black dramedy is expected to notch several Oscar nominations Monday.

Fox Searchlight and its Beijing-based partners are timing Three Billboard's China release to coincide with the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, which takes place March 4.

Last year's multi-Oscar-winner La La Land earned $35.9 million in China, a healthy number given the way the Chinese audience historically has tended to shun musicals. And The Revenant earned $58.6 million — a huge number for a gritty foreign drama in China — in the wake of Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar best actor win in 2015.

As with The Revenant, it is expected that China's censors may cut some of Three Billboards' more graphic scenes. The film is rated R.