Hollywood franchise movies “Hotel Transylvania: Transformania” and “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” have both secured April theatrical release dates in mainland China.
“Transylvania” will open in Chinese cinemas on Sunday April 3, 2022, a couple of days ahead of the Qingming or Tomb Sweeping holiday on April 5. “Beasts” will open, more conventionally, on Friday, April 8.
Sony missed out on a China release for “Spider Man: No Way Home,” which was the biggest film worldwide in 2021. But the confirmation represents the studio’s second Hollywood film this year to receive approval from the Chinese authorities (after “Uncharted,” set for March 14 ). “Beasts 3” is the third of 2022 for Warner Bros. (after “The Matrix: Revolutions” in January and “The Batman” on March 18).
“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” releases in North America on April 15, 2022, meaning that the studio has time to build a marketing campaign in the Middle Kingdom and that the Chinese outing briefly precedes the stateside debut.
All three previous instalments in the Transylvania franchise have been releasd in China. The first scored $10.9 million in 2012. “Hotel Transylvania 2” earned $17.3 million in 2015, while “Hotel Transylvania 3” took $32.7 million in 2018.
Previous instalments of the Fantastic Beasts series have scored well. “Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them” grossed $86 million in 2016. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” grossed $57.3 million in 2018.
Mainland China was the world’s largest box office market in both 2020 and 2021, as the country largely kept COVID-19 at bay. But China’s theatrical momentum slowed significantly in the final quarter of last year and was partly slowed by a reduced number of Hollywood imports.
Whether China can maintain that lead over North America for a third year is moot. Year to date box office in China is running 17% behind 2021 levels and stood at $2.12 billion as of Sunday. That reflects a growing seasonality and emphasis on peak holiday performances of Chinese-produced blockbusters. The flow of off-season Hollywood releases may be intended to even out performance.
The final film in the Hotel Transylvania series, “Transformania” is directed by Jennifer Kluska and Derek Drymon. It is executive produced by Genndy Tartakovsky, Michelle Murdocca, and Selena Gomez and produced by Alice Dewey Goldstone, with a story by Tartakovsky and a screenplay by Amos Vernon and Nunzio Randazzo and Tartakovsky.