Key Oscar Wins Mean ‘Room’ and ‘Revenant’ Are Headed to China
In showbiz circles, you might hear savvy types bring up what’s colloquially referred to as the “Oscar bump,” which, incredibly, is not a euphemism at all related to cocaine. When a performer or film takes home an Academy Award, that provides a welcome increase in their public profile — actors hot off their Oscar win pretty much have their pick of the most plum roles available at the time, and a victory in one of the key categories can draw attention to a film and possibly beef up its box-office numbers, in the event that it’s still floating around theaters. Put simply, winning an Oscar is good business.
International film distributor The Bona Group understands this, which explains the new development that they’ll bring Room and The Revenant to Chinese audiences in the wake of the films’ big Oscar wins. The burgeoning Chinese movie economy is one of the hottest topics in Hollywood right now, with every executive scrambling to extract as much capital from this increasingly wealth nation while they still can. Chinese audiences love a movie star, and after decades of blockbuster work, you best believe Leonardo DiCaprio has overseas appeal, making the Revenant release a no-brainer. Though the Variety item that broke this news noted that Chinese censors will have at director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s cut of the film before it runs for the public, excising some of the more violent sequences for a relatively conservative audience. Brie Larson does not share DiCaprio’s trans-national fame, not yet anyway, but audiences in any nation recognize a movie star doing great work when they see one, which is precisely what Room is. Bona purchased the rights to Room back in September at the Toronto International Film Festival, but this influx of publicity has spurred them to actually get around to releasing it. Apparently, Best Picture winner Spotlight, with its dearth of visual action and culturally specific subject material, was not fit for international consumption.