‘Elysium’ Scores China Release in September (Exclusive)

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Matt Damon sci-fi adventure will enter second largest market for films

Chinese regulators decided this week to allow "Elysium" to screen in the country, an individual with knowledge of the situation told TheWrap.

A spokesperson for Sony confirmed the favorable decision and said the film will be released in the People's Republic on Sept. 5.

It's a big shot in the arm for "Elysium"s' box office prospects. Last year, China surpassed Japan as the world's second largest market for movie ticket sales, contributing some $2.7 billion in overall box office.

Also read: China Film Group's IPO Could Ease Hollywood's Box-Office Headache for Good

Scoring a theatrical release in China can add tens of millions of dollars to a film's bottom line. "Iron Man 3," for example, earned more than $120 million from Chinese receipts alone.

Getting a release in the country remains difficult, however. China's censors are strict and regulators have a stated preference for films that can be shown in 3D or IMAX. There also is a strict quota which limits the number of foreign films to 34  releases year, so competition for slots is fierce.

"Elysium," with a production budget of $115 million, has made $53.2 million since hitting theaters last week. Directed by "District 9"s' Neill Blomkamp and starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, the film imagines a future where most of the world lives in squalor while the elite float above the earth in luxurious space ship.

Also read: Hollywood Movies Losing Out to Chinese Films in a Big Way

The greenlight for "Elysium" in that prime market comes just days after China Film Group, the state-owned distributor of foreign films, reached an agreement to pay U.S. studios months-worth of withheld box office revenues. The two sides had been at odds over a luxury tax China Film Group had tried to apply to studios' share of ticket sales.