‘The Batman’ Gets March 18 Release Date in China

Matt Reeves’ DC film is poised to be the first comic book blockbuster since “Wonder Woman 1984” to play in Chinese theaters

Warner Bros.

After a 2021 in which very few American blockbusters made it to Chinese movie theaters, Warner Bros.’ next DC blockbuster “The Batman” has been approved by the Chinese film board for a release on March 18.

The approval is a big boost to Warner’s box office hopes, as it will be the first comic book movie since “Wonder Woman 1984” to get a release in China and the first major American import after the Lunar New Year period, which is reserved for Chinese films only. Warner Bros. has released a new poster with the release date, which can be seen below

Last year, multiple Marvel movies including “Venom: Let There Be Carnage,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Eternals” were denied Chinese releases. In the case of the latter two films, the rejection came as interviews with “Shang-Chi” star Simu Liu and “Eternals” director Chloe Zhao — both Chinese expats — resurfaced in which they criticized China’s government.

The pandemic box office’s biggest global hit, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” was also among those that stayed out of Chinese theaters. Though the film didn’t need China to become a smash hit with over $1.8 billion grossed worldwide, having that country’s moviegoers buy tickets likely would have made it the sixth film in box office history to earn a global total of over $2 billion.

But beyond comic book movies, the number of American films approved for release in China dropped considerably last year. Among the few exceptions were Universal’s “F9,” 20th Century’s “Free Guy,” and Warner Bros.’ “Dune” and “Godzilla vs. Kong.”

After a decade in which Hollywood films dominated the Chinese box office charts and helped the country’s movie theater industry explode while American studios profited from a new major market, China’s officials have made a concentrated effort to boost the country’s film industry by giving more attention to local movies.

While 2021 saw wild swings in overall weekend gross totals, eight of the top 10 highest-grossing films last year were local films, led by smash hit war film “The Battle at Lake Changjin.

“F9” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” were the only American films to make the list.