Oscar winning films to release in China

As Leonardo DiCaprio won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in "The Revenant," two Academy Award-winning films were announced to be released in China.

The Academy Award-winning film "The Revenant" will debut in Chinese theaters on March 18, while "Room" will also screen in China, according to the films' Chinese promoter Bona Film Group.

Directed by Mexican veteran filmmaker Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the western thriller "The Revenant" follows a frontiersman's journey of survival and revenge after being abandoned by his fellow fur trappers in the early 19th century in Native American territory. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio, and co-stars Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter.

Bona Film Group's statement, released yesterday, congratulated Leonardo DiCaprio, who had been longing for a Oscar win for decades, and said that the China Film Group Corporation will import the film with Huaxia Film Distribution Co., Ltd to distribute it. China's Alpha Pictures and Bona Film Group will help promote the film. Alpha Pictures also has an investment in "The Revenant," the company confirmed without elaborating.

Bona Film Group added that Leonardo DiCaprio is expected to come to China to promote the film.

In addition to DiCaprio's win, the film also pocketed two other Oscars, for Iñárritu's directing and Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography, at the 88th Academy Awards.

To cash in the Oscar heat, Peking University Press also announced the China release of the Chinese edition of the original novel "The Revenant," written by Michael Punke, and inspired by the experiences of frontiersman Hugh Glass in 1823.

Bona Film Group also said they have acquired another Academy Award-winning film's distribution and screening rights in China, namely,"Room."

"Room" is a drama film directed by Lenny Abrahamson starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, and William H. Macy. The story tells of a woman and her 5-year-old son, held captive for seven years in an enclosed space, who finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time. The film received four nominations for the 88th Academy Awards, with Larson winning Best Actress.

Bona Film Group said they bought the rights for "Room" as early as last September at the Toronto International Film Festival. Yu Dong, the chairman of the company, said it is the second time they predicted and bought the distribution rights of an Oscar winning film in advance. Bona Film Group previously acquired the distribution rights of the Best Picture Oscar winner "12 Years a Slave" last year, however, the film still never made it to theatrical release until now.

The distributor still hasn't revealed when "Room" will be released in the world's second largest film market.

As for this year's Best Picture Oscar winner, "Spotlight," it also may have the possibility to screen in China, as one of its distributors is Open Road Films, a film company launched by the two largest U.S. theatrical exhibitors, AMC Theatres and Regal Entertainment Group. As AMC is owned by the Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, Wang Jianlin, Wanda's chairman and China's richest man, sent congratulatory messages to Open Road Films' top executive immediately after the Oscar win and boasted it is the first time a Chinese company has received an Oscar through its own subsidiary after waves of overseas mergers and acquisitions.

However, there's no word yet about whether the film, which is about the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation within the local Catholic Archdiocese, would be released in China.

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