Columbia Pictures’ 2021 horror-thriller “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” has been given official approval to release in cinemas in mainland China. It will launch on Saturday April 2, 2022.
Directed by Adam Robitel, it is the sequel to the psychological thriller “Escape Room” that terrified audiences around the world in 2019. In the new installment, six people unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of escape rooms, slowly uncovering what they have in common to survive.
The film was released in many international markets and in North America in July last year. It earned $25.3 million on its North American domestic outing and a further $30.5 million in international markets.
The first “Escape Room” film was also released in China. It opened in January 2019 and earned some $34 million.
China has become a difficult hunting ground for Hollywood movies in the last couple of years, due to a multiplicity of factors. These include reduced supply of titles during COVID times, a skewing of the Chinese box office towards patriotic tentpole movies that dominate peak holiday periods, and political influences over the decisions as to which films may be imported.
Chinese authorities have not given import permission to the last five movies from the Marvel stables of either Disney or Sony. And, in recent months, state media has depicted an explicit relationship between the state of political relations and the nationalities of the films allowed to reach Chinese theaters.
The flow of U.S. movies into China has resumed of late. Sony’s “Uncharted” and Warner Bros.’ “The Batman” are currently on release in China. Both are struggling and seem unlikely to achieve more than a fraction of the revenues that might have been scored in pre-COVID times.
“Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” is set to release on April 3. And “The Secrets of Dumbledore” is scheduled for April 8.
An additional handicap to films of all nationalities is the current wave of Omicron infections in China. This has caused the lockdown of several major cities and the closure of a significant proportion of the country’s cinemas and other entertainment venues such as the Shanghai Disneyland theme park.