Brad Pitt will make his first promotional appearance for a film in China, ending an unspoken ban on the actor and his work.
Brad Pitt is set to visit China to promote his upcoming World War II thriller Allied (间谍同盟), effectively ending an unspoken ban on the actor after he angered Chinese officials by appearing in the 1997 film Seven Years In Tibet (西藏七年).
Pitt is expected to promote the Paramount film in Shanghai November 13-16, a week before its day-and-date release on November 23, according to local media reports citing the film’s producers.
Pitt dipped his toe back into the world’s second-largest film market in 2013 when he established an account on Weibo — China’s most popular microblogging platform — only for the account to be mysteriously deactivated less than a month later.
The 52-year-old actor remained persona non grata in China until he accompanied his then-wife, actress Angelina Jolie on a press junket for her 2014 film Maleficent (沉睡魔咒). The Allied promotion will be the first time the actor has come to promote one of his own films.
Press tours of China have become more common as the country’s box office has grown in size. The stars of recent Paramount films including Tom Cruise for Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (侠探杰克：永不回头) and the main cast of Star Trek Beyond (星际迷航3: 超越星辰) have visited China in recent months, although neither of those two promo tours appeared to boost their respective films.
Pitt’s rehabilitation is not completely unexpected, especially considering Frenchman Jean-Jacques Annaud, who directed Seven Years In Tibet, has already made Wolf Totem (狼图腾), backed by state-run China Film Group.
China considers Tibet part of its sovereign territory and has accused Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama of seeking independence for the region.
Performers such as pop singer Selena Gomez and band Maroon 5 have had tours of China cancelled, with many linking social media posts made by the stars featuring the Dalai Lama as the reason for the cancellations.
The announcement of Pitt’s impending visit to China came as Paramount Pictures released a Chinese poster of Pitt and Cotillard getting close.
It also comes on the heels of an announcement last week by Chinese film production and marketing company Huahua Media that it would invest in the film, which is set to screen in 2D and China Giant Screen formats.
“Allied is one of the year’s most anticipated films and we are very pleased to continue our very successful partnership with Huahua, who will help to bring this fantastic movie to audiences throughout China” Paramount’s President of Worldwide Distribution and Marketing Megan Colligan said in a statement.
“We are looking forward to yet another partnership with Paramount Pictures for Allied. Our sole investment marks Huahua Media’s third worldwide investment, following our co-investments in Star Trek Beyond and Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Based on the success of our past releases, we anticipate a positive response from moviegoers in China,” Huahua CEO Kefei Wang said.