Disney/20th Century Studios’ Death On The Nile has been confirmed for a China release, slated to go out on February 19. The date falls just after the Chinese New Year period ends, and is the day before the culmination of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The Kenneth Branagh-directed mystery ensemble nabbed an increasingly rare China slot for Hollywood titles and is the sole studio movie currently dated in 2022. What’s more, it’s also releasing nearly in step with the beginning of its international and domestic rollout — something we haven’t seen in some time. Although it’s a non-traditional Saturday start, the timing of the release confirmation should give Disney room to mobilize its promotional efforts, another recent rarity.
Overall, China was stingy (or late) with release dates for Hollywood movies in 2021, becoming even more ornery to navigate than usual. Some of that was attributable to it having been the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party, which put the focus on local so-called “propaganda” movies like the $900 million-plus grosser The Battle at Lake Changjin. That film’s sequel, Water Gate Bridge, releases on February 1 to kick off Chinese New Year and is expected to do mega-business. Note: Assassinio sul Nilo streaming
Based on Agatha Christie’s classic novel, Death On The Nile is Branagh and 20th Century’s follow-up to their 2017 adaptation of the author’s Murder On The Orient Express. That film also released in China, grossing a decent $34.7M.
Branagh again stars as Belgian master detective Hercule Poirot, with the murder now in question set on a glamorous river steamer during a young couple’s honeymoon.
Armie Hammer and Gal Gadot play the couple, although a trailer released in December played down the role of Hammer, who is embroiled in an alleged sexual assault scandal. Note: Cyrano streaming
Also starring are Tom Bateman — who returns from the Orient Express pic — Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders and Letitia Wright.
The film has bounced around the release calendar during the past two years due to the pandemic and is now due to hit North American theaters on February 11 with overseas beginning February 9 in France and Korea, notably. Note: The French Dispatch streaming
Disney’s Death on the Nile Release Date
The mystery sequel from Kenneth Branagh is currently the only upcoming Hollywood studio film with a confirmed release date in the country.
Death on the Nile, Kenneth Branagh’s star-studded sequel to Murder on the Orient Express, has locked down a release date in China. The Disney and 20th Century film will open there on Feb. 19, a little over a week after its domestic release on Feb. 11. Note: Scream streaming
Murder on the Orient Express was reasonably well-received and earned $34.6 million in China in the fall of 2017.
Death on the Nile is currently the only U.S. studio film with a confirmed release on China’s upcoming calendar. Beijing regulators have cut back drastically on the U.S. film industry’s access to the Chinese market, responding to tense U.S.-China relations and an increasingly nationalistic policy stance under Chinese President Xi Jinping. The number of U.S. studio films released in China dropped by a third last year compared to the period preceding the pandemic. Several major Disney Marvel tentpoles — typically Hollywood’s most popular franchise in China — were denied release dates in the country, for reasons that were never officially explained. Note: Spider-Man: No Way Home streaming
Death on the Nile was originally set to hit global cinemas in 2020, but it was pushed back numerous times due to the pandemic.
Like Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile is a feature adaptation of a classic Agatha Christie novel featuring famed detective Hercule Poirot, played by Branagh. The sequel’s talent-deep cast includes Gal Gadot, Tom Bateman, Letitia Wright, embattled actor Armie Hammer, Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo and Jennifer Saunders.