Tom Holland is ready to make his return to Chinese cinema screens — but this time in Sony’s a video game adaption Uncharted, not in his mega-hit Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Uncharted, starring Mark Wahlberg and based on the iconic PlayStation video game franchise Naughty Dog, has been given a March 14 release date in China by Columbia Pictures. Last weekend, the picture launched in 15 more overseas regions, grossing $22 million. It makes its North American premiere on Friday.
China’s film authorities have significantly reduced the number of American films permitted in their theatrical picture industry, which will once again be the world’s biggest in 2021.
Only 20 revenue-sharing American films were released in Chinese theatres last year, down from an average of 30 to 40 in the years before the epidemic.
The absence of a China release for the last five big Marvel films (Black Widow, Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Spider-Man: No Way Home) has sparked unending debate, considering the Marvel franchise’s immense success in China.
According to some observers, Beijing may be attempting to wean its public away from American narratives amid constantly tense diplomatic ties with Washington. The studios received a boost late Friday in China when it was revealed that Warner Bros.’ The Batman would open on March 18 in the nation.
So far in 2022, the films scheduled for release in China are mid-to small-budget fare: Disney’s Death on the Nile (February 19), Woody Allen’s controversial 2018 picture A Rainy Day in New York (February 25), and, now, Uncharted (March 14) and The Batman (March 15). (March 18).
Uncharted, directed by Ruben Fleischer (Venom), was designed as an origin tale for Nathan Drake, the globe-trotting hero portrayed by Holland.
Nathan starts the narrative as a bartender before being recruited by seasoned treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan (Wahlberg) to collect riches gathered by Ferdinand Magellan 500 years before and lost.
What begins as a simple theft becomes a globe-trotting, white-knuckle sprint to get the loot before the savage Santiago Moncada (Antonio Banderas), who thinks he and his family are the legitimate heirs.
Rafe Lee Judkins, Art Marcum, and Matt Holloway wrote the script. Charles Roven, Avi Arad, Alex Gartner, and Ari Arad produce the picture.