In the world of cinema, there are seemingly two types of films put out by studios. Most have their big franchises that they expect to earn the majority of their profits for the year, but studios also release smaller, more personal stories that they think could be sleeper hits or contend for awards. The big franchises can sometimes get by regardless of critical reception if it has the fan base to support the film, but ultimately, how much money a film makes is the biggest factor in determining whether it’s successful or not. In just a few weeks, Disney and Warner Bros. will be releasing two of their biggest films of the year with Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them hitting theaters a few weeks apart.
Both films are expected to earn significant amounts of money during their opening weekends, as well as their entire theatrical runs, and being released in various markets will help make that possible. While a lot of fans will focus on how much these films, and others, make domestically, the foreign box office is becoming just as significant for studios. Luckily for both of these films, they have appeared to secure release dates in the top foreign market.
Variety is reporting that both films will be allowed to be released in China. Doctor Strange will reportedly arrive the same day as its worldwide release date on November 4th, with Fantastic Beasts doing the same on November 18th. This is incredibly good news for both films’ box office prospects as China has previously helped at tens of millions of dollars to movies in the past. It has also potentially cost some films (i.e. Ghostbusters or Deadpool) money for believing that the film did not meet their strict guidelines.
Doctor Strange getting released in China is not a complete surprise, but after not allowing other big franchises in recently and the fact that the film deals with magic and alternate realities, it could have easily not been accepted. Still, every Marvel film in the past has been released in China and has served very well. The last three MCU films have fared extremely well in China with Captain America: Civil War earning an additional $190 million, Avengers: Age of Ultron getting an extra $240 million, and even Ant-Man earned $100 million in the market alone. Doctor Strange could do similar numbers to Ant-Man if it is received well, which will certainly help boost the worldwide totals.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is also a film that will heavily feature the use of magic, something that China has shied away from in the past. That has not been a problem for the Harry Potter universe to date, and should continue as this new franchise continues for an additional four films. The last installment made just over $60 million in China, but this was before the country became the second most important location for the film industry. Now that both films should get the help of China, expectations for the final tally at the box office have surely gone up.