WarnerMedia will be closing its Hong Kong theatrical office, with films from Warner Bros to be released by Universal Pictures in the market beginning January 1, Deadline has confirmed. Layoffs are expected in Hong Kong, though an exact number is not yet clear.
A typically solid market, Hong Kong’s cinemas shuttered for the third time in early December, amid a fourth wave of rising coronavirus cases. Earlier this week, the government extended social distancing measures until at least January 6, 2021, which includes the continued closure of movie theaters.
Warner Bros’ Tenet did $7.1 million in the market after releasing September 10. Wonder Woman 1984 had originally been scheduled for release there on December 17, but was forced off the date due to the ongoing closures. It is understood to now be awaiting an update on movie theater reopenings for WW84. The first title on WB’s domestic slate in 2021 is John Lee Hancock’s The Little Things starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek and Jared Leto. While WB is pursuing a day-and-date domestic theatrical and HBO Max strategy for its slate next year, films will continue to release in movie theaters overseas and, in cases where it makes sense, they will get an early jump on North America. Little Things will be the first WB title to go out under Universal in Hong Kong.
WarnerMedia has recently been shifting and setting overseas leadership teams as it looks to a more combined approach under the corporate umbrella. This includes such moves in Europe, the Nordics, the Middle East, India and South East Asia. In Hong Kong, the company said last month that a new head for Theatrical Distribution was “being identified.” (Quoted from Deadline)