Lionsgate to Release The Hunger Games in China

Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF), a leading diversified global entertainment company, says that The Hunger Games, which has already grossed nearly $620 million at the worldwide box office, has been approved for release in China in the first half of June.

The film will be released nationwide in China with both dubbed and subtitled prints by The China Film Group in conjunction with Lionsgate’s promotional partner, Talent International.

The Hunger Games will be one of the first Hollywood studio films to be released in China under the new blockbuster revenue sharing agreement announced in February that allows Western distributors to collect up to 25% of a film’s receipts in China.

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“The Hunger Games juggernaut continues to gain momentum around the world, and we’re thrilled that we can now share the exciting first installment of The Hunger Games franchise with Chinese moviegoers in June,” said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairs Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman.

“China is already one of the leading territories at the international box office, and the launch of The Hunger Games in this key market is another sign of the franchise’s continuing emergence as a truly global phenomenon.”

Eyeing the potential in the growing Chinese market, Hollywood companies are already very active in China. In the wake of China’s encouraging box-office opening of Titanic 3D, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment (FOX) and SONY have announced an exclusive, large-scale bundling partnership for the film’s Blu-ray 3D release this fall. (Read: Now Titanic to Enter Living Rooms in China)

Similarly, the Walt Disney Company in China, the Ministry of Culture’s China Animation Group, and Tencent, China’s internet service provider, have formed a partnership, “The National Animation Creative Research and Development Cooperation.”

It aims to advance the country’s animation industry. The organization, announced at a signing ceremony in Beijing last month, it will serve as an incubator to train local talent and develop original content that will entertain audiences in China and worldwide. (Read: Disney Makes Deeper Inroads in China)

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The Hunger Games has already grossed more than $380 million at the North American box office where it ranks 13th among the highest-grossing films of all time. It has grossed nearly $620 million worldwide with upcoming launches in China and Japan, according to Lionsgate.

“We view China as an increasingly important market for our content in Asia,” said Wendy Reeds, executive VP of Content Sales & Distribution for Celestial Tiger Entertainment (CTE), Lionsgate’s venture with Saban Capital Group and Astro’s Celestial Pictures in Asia.

“The Chinese box office grew by more than 30% last year to over $2 billion, and The Hunger Games’ approval for nationwide release in China is a major step in translating the enormous commercial potential of this huge market into reality.”

About The Hunger Games

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the evil Capitol of the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games.

A twisted punishment for a past uprising and an ongoing government intimidation tactic, The Hunger Games is a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains.

Pitted against highly trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy.  If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

The Hunger Games is directed by Gary Ross, and produced by Nina Jacobson’s Color Force in tandem with producer Jon Kilik. Suzanne Collins’ best-selling novel, the first in a trilogy published by Scholastic that has over 36.5 million copies in print in the United States alone, has developed a massive global following, informs Lionsgate.

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