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Minions: The Rise of Gru Releasing in China, First Major U.S. Film in Country Since June

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Minions: The Rise of Gru

One of the biggest films of the summer has been Minions: The Rise of Gru, which has made an impressive $334 million at the domestic box office. Internationally, the latest entry in the Despicable Me franchise has grossed $423 million, but that number is about to get a boost thanks to a major country the film is going to be released in this month. In a surprising move, Minions: The Rise of Gru is heading to China, with a release date in the country being set for Aug. 19. It’s surprising that Minions is coming out in China because the last summer blockbuster to be seen by Chinese audiences was Jurassic World: Dominion, which made $156 million in the country back in June.

U.S. films have had plenty of difficulties getting into China over the last few years, which is an important marketplace for the worldwide performance of major studio releases. For example, Avengers: Endgame

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made more than $629 million in China alone in 2019, a key contributor to the film’s $2.7 billion worldwide gross. Franchises like The Fast and the Furious also rely heavily on the Chinese box office, as the $215 million made by F9 in China was greater than the film’s domestic total of $173 million. While F9, No Time to Die, and Godzilla vs. Kong were among the 2021 films to receive a Chinese release, others like Spider-Man: No Way Home, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings were shut out of the country.

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China has been much more selective of the U.S. films it’s allowing into its movie theaters, and that story has continued this year. Top Gun: Maverick, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder are some of the biggest 2022 films that have not been given entry into China. The announcement that Minions will be put out in China next week is good news for U.S. studios hoping to maximize the international box office of their films. Since there’s a backlog of summer movies that haven’t been able to play in China, Minions may open the floodgates for Maverick and Love and Thunder, or even newer releases like Bullet Train and DC League of Super Pets.

The future looks bright for those films as well due to the fact there aren’t many major releases coming out in the U.S. over the next few months. The summer movie season has all but come to an end, with the biggest film left on the calendar in August being Beast, starring Idris Elba and Sharlto Copley. Blockbusters really won’t return until October, which is when Black Adam and Halloween Ends will be hitting theaters. There’s some runway for the biggest movies of the last few months to earn some money in China, but that all depends on whether the country is willing to bring those films over into its theaters. While Minions is an exciting first step, there’s no guarantee that China will release a wide swath of U.S. films throughout the rest of 2022.

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