Robert Downey Jr. to Attend Beijing Launch of 'Iron Man 3' (Exclusive)

Clarence Tsui
'Iron Man 3' China-Only Scenes Draw Mixed Response

HONG KONG – Robert Downey Jr. will be present at an event set within Beijing’s Forbidden City complex on April 6 to launch a month-long promotional blitz of Iron Man 3 in China before its release in the country in early May.

A source close to the event told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor would be in the Chinese capital for the whole day, with his appearance at the event during the evening possibly preceded by meetings with the local press.

It is also understood that Iron Man 3 will also “have a presence” at the Beijing International Film Festival, which runs from April 16-23 – leaving the possibility open for the film to be make its bow at the Chinese capital before it is to be released on staggered dates during the last week of April and the first week of May. The film is slated for a May 3 opening in the U.S., with a same-day release in China yet to be confirmed.

A joint production of the Disney-owned Marvel Pictures and the Beijing-based DMG Entertainment, Iron Man 3 has been largely shaped with the Chinese market in mind, with several scenes shot in Beijing and a cast featuring A-listers Fan Bingbing and Wang Xueqi.

The film also came in the light of a tie-in promotional deal between Marvel and Chinese electronics manufacturers TCL – an agreement which led to additional shooting last month at Los Angeles’ Chinese Theater, which had recently been rechristened the TCL Chinese Theater after a US$5 million, 10-year branding deal.

Proof of the production’s enthusiasm to court Chinese audiences is shown through the release of a trailer fashioned especially for the country – in which Fan and Wang are featured as well as a scene in which Iron Man was seen in front of groups of cheering Chinese children at the touristic landmark of Yongdingmen.

While Hollywood producers have made overtures to try and break the Chinese market for years, the Chinese box-office success of Titanic 3D and Life of Pi has strengthened the resolve of many U.S. studios in putting more attention in whipping up media frenzies for their offerings in the country.

The Hollywood Reporter has learnt that the film’s co-production status was yet to be cleared with the mainland authorities. DMG CEO Dan Mintz has told THR last year that the film is seeking that qualification, which would allow the film to circumvent the country’s annual import quota and also bring in a larger share of local box office receipts for its international investors.