If something like Tenet were to come out in China and similarly struggle, then other studios may decide to hold off on new theatrical releases until 2021, when presumably it will be safer to attend public gatherings like movie screenings. Paramount can afford Sonic the Hedgehog having a poor showing in China because the film’s already turned a profit and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 has a 2022 release date.
But Warner Bros., Disney, and others don’t have that luxury. As much as they’d like to have people flock to the theater to see their latest releases, they also don’t want to lose money on sizable investments. It’s a tricky balancing act studios and theaters will have to figure out over the next handful of months.
NEWS:According to Variety, Sonic the Hedgehog earned only $1.27 million in China during its opening weekend. As a whole, the country’s box office brought in $17.6 million collectively – even though an additional 2,000 theaters opened up.
In Sonic the Hedgehog’s case, its poor performance can be attributed in part to piracy, but these figures as a whole are concerning for the film industry. China is the world’s second-largest market, and they are facing an uphill climb to adapt to the new normal.
That, combined with attendance limits means movies definitely will not be grossing as much money as expected under normal circumstances. And if Sonic the Hedgehog’s numbers are anything to go by, studios may have to adjust to a harsh new reality.