'Hunger Games' to be released in China

International megahit film "The Hunger Games" has been approved for release in China in June, following its record-breaking success in United States and elsewhere, its makers said.

The film will be released nationwide in China in the first half of June, in dubbed and subtitled prints, said Lionsgate, the California-based company behind the blockbuster.

"We're thrilled that we can now share the exciting first installment of The Hunger Games franchise with Chinese moviegoers," said Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairs Patrick Wachsberger and Rob Friedman.

"China is already one of the leading territories at the international box office, and the launch of The Hunger Games in this key market is another sign of the franchise's continuing emergence as a truly global phenomenon."

The movie, which premiered in the US in March, has already grossed nearly $620 million at the worldwide box office including over $380 million in North America where it is the 13th highest-grossing film of all time, Lionsgate said.

The film is one of the first Hollywood studio movies to be released in China under a new revenue sharing agreement announced in February that lets distributors collect up to 25% of a film's receipts in China, it noted.

"We view China as an increasingly important market for our content in Asia," said Wendy Reeds, an executive at Celestial Tiger Entertainment (CTE), a joint venture involving Lionsgate in Asia.

China's box office grew by over 30% last year to over $2 billion, and the film's approval for release in China is "a major step in translating the enormous commercial potential of this huge market into reality," she said.

The film is being released in China by The China Film Group in conjunction with Lionsgate's promotional partner, Talent International, said a Lionsgate statement dated Saturday.

The movie, based on a book by Suzanne Collins, tells the story of a teenage girl played by Lawrence who fights to win a death match/television reality show featuring children in a post-apocalyptic world.

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