Movies

Pirates Of The Caribbean sequel has rare premiere in China

Walt Disney's latest Pirates Of The Caribbean film outing rolled out the red carpet in Shanghai on Thursday in a rare world premiere in China for a Hollywood blockbuster, as US movie producers look to woo Chinese moviegoers.

In the shadow of Disney's newest theme park, which opened last year, hundreds of Pirates fans lined up to catch a glimpse of stars Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom and Javier Bardem ahead of a viewing.

China's box office slowed markedly last year but grew at its fastest pace in more than a year last month, driven by Universal's high-octane action movie Fast & Furious 8.

The premiere of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge puts it among the small number of US movies to screen for the first time in China.

The movie will open in the US only on May 26. It opens in Singapore on May 25,

Movies such as Point Break (2015) and Iron Man 3 (2013) have premiered or opened earlier in China, and the trend reflects the growing influence of China's 1.4 billion potential moviegoers, who are increasingly driving global box-office sales.

Student Zhao Yushen said she had skipped her studies for exams to come from nearby Nanjing to see Depp. She said: "I have still one final-term exam to take tomorrow morning, but I have not prepared for it at all."

Hollywood is eager to tap more consumers like Miss Zhao and hopes it can lobby Beijing to raise the cap of 34 imported movies a year under a revenue-sharing deal, which is scheduled to be reviewed this year.

The market grew 4 per cent last year, down sharply from 50 per cent in 2015, according to box-office tracker EntGroup.

The four previous Pirates movies generated over US$3.7 billion (S$5.2 billion) in worldwide ticket sales. - REUTERS