33 Postcards set for widespread theatrical release in China

22 August, 2011 by Brendan Swift

Feature film drama 33 Postcards is set to have one of the widest ever cinema releases for a local film in China.

The Australian-Chinese co-production will be shown on about 8000 screens according to NSW Minister for the Arts, George Souris.


33 Postcards will be released in every cinema in China – about 8000 screens – which means a massive audience for this film in one of the world’s largest cinema markets when the Mandarin version of the film opens there on September 2,” he said in a statement.

33 Postcards is only one of a handful of Australian films ever to break into the Chinese cinema circuit as only a small number of foreign films are released there each year.”

However, the producers have previously cast doubt on the actual number of screens – the Chinese industry sometimes counts each showing as a separate screen.

It comes during a period of explosive economic growth across China, with the country adding new cinema screens daily. Last year, the country counted an estimated 6200 cinema screens in total, ranking it the third largest in the world.

Mario Andreacchio’s children’s adventure The Dragon Pearl was the first official Australian-Chinese co-production to be released in China earlier this year. It grossed $US4.87 million in China, according to Box Office Mojo, and is slated for a small theatrical run in Australia later this year. (Mao’s Last Dancer – the highest grossing local film in Australia in 2009 – filmed extensively in China but did not have official government approval.)

Only 20 foreign films are shown in China each year (although co-productions such as 33 Postcards and The Dragon Pearl are not counted as part of this quota) and films are limited to a three-week theatrical run.

33 Postcards tells the tale of Chinese orphan Mei Mei (Zhu Lin) who dreams of meeting her Australian sponsor – Dean Randall (Guy Pearce). At 16, when her orphanage travels to Australia to attend a choir festival, Mei Mei takes the opportunity to look him up. What she finds however is far from the idyllic life he depicted in his postcards.

The film was directed by Pauline Chan and produced by Portal Pictures and Zhejiang Hengdian Film Productions, in association with IFS Capital Limited and Screen NSW (which invested $200,000 in the production).

33 Postcards had its world premiere at the Sydney Film Festival, which was attended by a high level delegation of Chinese film industry representatives. It was awarded the Sydney Film Festival CRC Award.

The film will be released in Australia later this year by independent distributor Titan View. Watch the 33 Postcards trailer here.