The involvement of Legendary, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Wanda, may have helped the action thriller score a slot during the lucrative summer window, which Beijing usually reserves for domestic Chinese releases.
Legendary Entertainment and Universal’s upcoming Dwayne Johnson action thriller Skyscraper has locked down a July 20 release date in China, securing a rare slot right in the midst of Beijing’s usual summer blackout on imported Hollywood fare.
The involvement of Legendary, which is owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, and the film’s setting in Hong Kong, may have played a hand in Skyscraper getting permission to screen during the lucrative summer window, which is usually reserved for domestic Chinese releases.
Other major Hollywood summer titles, such as Disney and Marvel’s Ant-Man and the Wasp (opening in the U.S. on Friday), have yet to land dates in China. Skyscraper will open between two major Chinese tentpoles: Jiang Wen’s Hidden Man (July 13), which Warners is co-producing, and Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee: The Four Heavenly Kings (July 27).
Johnson stars in Skyscraper as former FBI Hostage Rescue Team leader and U.S. war veteran Will Ford, who now assesses security for skyscrapers. On assignment in China he finds the tallest, safest building in the world suddenly ablaze, and he’s been framed for it. A wanted man on the run, Will must find those responsible, clear his name and somehow rescue his family, who are trapped inside the building above the fire line.
Skyscraper is written and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (who also helmed Johnson’s comedy Central Intelligence), with Neve Campbell and Pablo Schreiber co-starring. The film opens in North America on July 13, with most of the rest of the world following that same week.
The Rock is one of Hollywood’s biggest box-office draws in the Middle Kingdom, as he is everywhere. On Tuesday, Johnson sent the Chinese audience a shoutout over Instagram after Rampage, his most recent release, became his biggest star vehicle to date in China. Also Warner Bros’ second-highest grossing film of all time in China, Rampage earned $156.4 million there, compared to the $97.6 million in North America (Johnson clearly isn’t counting his Fast and Furious movies as personal star titles, however, given that Furious 7 and Fast 8 both earned over $200 million more than Rampage in China).
“I’m extremely grateful to the people and culture of China for embracing me and my films the way they have over the years,” Johnson posted. “Thank you for your love and support — and as always, I look forward to coming back!”