Warcraft movie to air in China first
MOVIEGOERS in China will be the first in the world to catch the cinematic adaptation of Warcraft, one of the world's most influential video-game franchises - in a twist to traditional major movie releases.
The film is set for a global premiere in Chinese theatres on June 8 - two days earlier than its North American release on June 10.
Usually, blockbusters from Hollywood are released in China only after they had been shown in their native markets.
But the decision to start screening earlier in China may be prompted by the upcoming Dragon Boat Festival holiday from June 9 to 11.
Last year, the three-day holiday raked in stunning takings of 600 million yuan (S$125 million) at the box office, up 42 per cent year on the year.
In addition, the Chinese are big fans of the fantasy game.
About half of its five million players are estimated to hail from China, according to BBC News.
Known as "World of Magic Beasts" in Chinese, the game involves exploring a vast magical landscape to complete quests amid encounters with monsters and other mythical creatures.
Legendary Entertainment, which is one of the studios behind the Warcraft film, is majority-owned by Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda.
In a telling move to make the most of China's lucrative market, Daniel Wu, a heart-throb to numerous Chinese female fans, was added to the latest poster tailored for the world's most populous nation.
He stars as Gul'dan, an orc warlock who, in the game franchise, is an evil character who betrays his mentor.
Wu had said in an earlier interview with local media that he was seeking a breakthrough to challenge his long-time stereotypical image as a handsome man on the big screen.
However, a check on the movie website Imdb.com found that Wu was listed only 12th in the ranking of Warcraft's cast.
It suggests that he may have only a minor role in the upcoming movie.