On Thursday, movie companies in China announced they would not go ahead with the release of seven major films at Chinese New Year, normally the busiest period in the cinema calendar.
Chinese regulations prevent a Chinese-produced film from being released outside mainland China in advance of a release within the country. There can be exceptions, such as those for major film festivals, but these need government approval.
Chinese rights holders also like to avoid international releases preceding their film’s outings in China. The chance of pirated recordings from the smaller overseas markets leaking back into massively larger mainland Chinese market is too great a risk.
Cancelled domestic outings will now have a domino effect on overseas releases of certain films.