Superman and Batman both scored solidly with Chinese audiences in solo performances. The Dark Knight Rises grossed RMB 340 million ($54.6 million) in 2012, while Man of Steel made RMB 395 million ($63.4 million) in 2013, though neither has soared to the box-office heights of Disney’s Marvel films. That studio’s Avengers: Age of Ultron was the second-highest grossing Hollywood film last year with RMB 1.46 billion ($241 million).
After the success of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Warner Bros. has been keen on finding another tentpole franchise to keep pace with Disney’s popular cinematic superhero universe, and China will certainly play a huge role in that quest.
The release date announcement comes exactly seven weeks before Batman v. Superman will premiere in China, giving Warner Bros. ample time for a strong marketing campaign that will add to the buzz the film is already enjoying there — it was recently listed as the fourth most anticipated Hollywood film of 2016, according to Douban users, ranking behind Warcraft, X-Man Apocalypse, and Suicide Squad.