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Daily DripEntertainment

Woody Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York” Gets Theatrical Release in China

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Chinese audiences embraced the work of disgraced filmmaker Woody Allen for the first time in cinemas, as A Rainy Day in New York hit the world’s biggest film market on February 25.

The Oscar-winning director’s films have appeared in the country’s film festival circuits but never reached a wider audience through theatrical release in China before.

The arthouse rom-com, starring Chinese audiences’ beloved Timothée Chalamet, Elle Fanning, Selena Gomez, and Jude Law, follows the (mis)adventures of two college lovers who spend a rainy weekend in Manhattan.

The title first hit European cinemas in 2019, almost one year after renewed interest in the 86-year-old director’s sexual abuse allegations made Amazon, the film’s production company, suspend its release.

Allen allegedly molested his then-7-year-old daughter Dylan Farrow in the early-’90s. Though the claim has been public for decades, it was brought into the limelight again amid the #MeToo movement.

Since Amazon dropped the film, a nine-month-long lawsuit between Allen and the tech giant and the controversy around the filmmaker made the movie’s U.S. release a thorny procedure.

A Rainy Day in New York

The Chinese poster for Woody Allen’s “A Rainy Day in New York”

The film was finally released in the U.S. in October 2020, as the theatrical ecosystem struggled in the midst of the pandemic, but it played in only six theaters.

Given that China has led the world in box office recovery from the pandemic and has outstripped North America to become the world’s largest box office, the country is the movie’s most important market.

A Rainy Day in New York grossed approximately 100 million USD during its opening weekend in China, according to Chinese box office tracker Maoyan, with several post-screening discussions held in major cities like Beijing and Hangzhou. Allen’s oeuvre prevails among arthouse cinephiles in China.

The movie, along with some highly anticipated Hollywood counterparts, like Death on the Nile, The Batman, and Uncharted, falls within the limited annual quota of overseas films with state-approved distribution rights in China for 2022.

The Hollywood Reporter notes the film’s theatrical release in China as a “surprise,” especially given the notable absence of major productions like Eternals, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in Chinese theaters last year.

All images via Weibo

Runjie Wang
    Runjie is interested in both textual and contextual films (e.g. cinema architecture, film culture) and the “mediatized” society and culture. He also considers himself an aviation geek. He holds an MA with an emphasis in humanities and cinema from the University of Chicago, and his writings have appeared in academic journals and local newspapers and magazines in the US.
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