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October 7, 2009

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Jackson movie to be shown in China

THE Michael Jackson documentary "This Is It" has snapped up one of the last of China's 20 annual foreign movie import slots, a Sony Pictures executive said yesterday.

Chinese authorities approved the film before the National Day holiday that started on October 1, clearing it in time for its global release date of October 28, said Li Chow, Sony Pictures Releasing International's general manager for China.

Li said Sony Pictures would be giving the movie as wide a release as possible because of Jackson's big fan base in China, depending on how many prints they can issue before October 28.

China had nearly 4,100 screens on the mainland at the end of 2008.

"We'll do as many prints as possible. It depends on the labs," Li said.

China only allows 20 major foreign films to be released on the mainland every year on a revenue-sharing basis. But those Hollywood releases are often immensely popular.

China's two most recent all-time box office records were both set by American films. "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" broke the 11-year-old record set by "Titanic" in July by earning 400 million yuan (US$59 million) at the box office on the mainland.

Directed by longtime Jackson collaborator Kenny Ortega, "Michael Jackson: This Is It" draws on hundreds of hours of footage as Jackson prepared for a series of London concerts for which he was rehearsing before his death.


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