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After several weeks of speculation, Lionsgate’s Power Rangers has secured a release date in China.
The Dean Israelite-directed superhero film, which has earned approximately $100 million at the worldwide box office to date, will open in the Middle Kingdom on May 12.
The new date puts Power Rangers head-to-head with Warner Bros.’ King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, directed by Guy Ritchie and opening day and date with North America the same day. It will also face off against Disney-Marvel holdover The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which debuts one week prior on May 5.
Whether Power Rangers would land a China release had been the subject of debate because of a brief scene in which the Yellow Ranger is shown questioning her sexuality. But like Disney’s Beauty and the Beast — which opened in China on March 17 despite a fleeting “gay moment” — Power Rangers has gotten the official green light to run uncensored.
China’s media regulators have been known to balk at gay content on the big and small screen — gay relationships are officially banned from broadcast television and movies like Brokeback Mountain have been denied a release.
A24, the company that financed and produced Oscar best picture winner Moonlight, is currently working with a Chinese partner to try to arrange a Chinese wide release for that film. Local sources tell THR they aren’t optimistic that Barry Jenkins’ elegant award winner will receive the same liberal treatment as the two studio tentpoles, however (here’s why).
The Power Rangers release will be handled by state distributors China Film Group and Huaxia Distribution, with TIK Films supplying marketing support. TIK, part of broadcasting powerhouse Hunan TV, has a wide-ranging slate financing deal with Lionsgate.
Power Rangers‘ final engagement will be Japan, where it bows on July 15.
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