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    Be Kind, Rewind: The Big Business of Film Re-Releases in China

    “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy is coming back to Chinese cinemas, and it’s only the beginning for movie re-releases this year.

    To the delight of loyal fans, Peter Jackson’s beloved “Lord of the Rings” trilogy is officially being rereleased in cinemas across China, with the first installment having opened on April 16. For many Chinese moviegoers, this marks their first time experiencing the Middle Earth saga on the big screen.

    Prior to the trilogy’s re-release, a total of 71 movies had been reissued since the reopening of cinemas after the country’s lockdowns were lifted, accounting for nearly 15% of all films screened in 2020 and 2021.

    Naturally, most of the re-releases have been generally well-received by Chinese audiences. So are film distributors and cinemas playing it safe in these uncertain times, or just being lazy? 

    Editors: Daniel Wilkinson and Liu Chang.

    (Header image: Audience members watch a film at a cinema in Beijing, July 2020. IC)