Ready Player One - March 30
It's been a long long time since Steven Spielberg directed a science fiction -- thirteen years to be precise -- and from what we've learned so far, this popular YA adaption has been pretty well received after its premiere at SXSW. Although very different from the book, this action adventure film is packed with pop culture references and a hell of a lot of fun, apparently. Early tickets are already available (some are sold out) now at a couple of cinemas, on your Alipay/ WeChat/ Gewara or whichever e-wallet you use in China.
The Commuter - March 30
Also hitting cinemas that day is Jaume Collet-Serra's The Commuter, an action thriller led by Collet-Serra's long-term collaborator Liam Neeson. Again, it's a film about our hero dealing with troubles on public transport. By punching people. Even though Neeson is already in his 60s. The film's currently sitting at 57% on Rotten Tomatoes which tells you it might not be Neeson's best work. But still...
Annihilation - April 13
This a pretty special treat for sci-fi fans in China. Alex Garland, the director who brought us the awesome A.I thriller Ex Machina once again delivers a high-concept work. The film was released on Netflix first (why?) which played a factor in it being a huge flop in the States. Fans in China, however, will get to experience the hallucinogenic visuals and the unsettling, synth-heavy score on the big screen. Lucky for us! Highly recommended for fans of Arrival and The Stalker.
Rampage - April 13
Rampage received the same release date in China as it did in the US, so we have yet to find out if it's going to be good or as bad as many other video game movies. The bar isn't very high, though. Directed by Brad Peyton, who previously also worked with Dwayne Johnson on 2015's disaster film San Andreas, Rampage is loosely based on the video game series of the same name, and features The Rock and a giant, "extraordinarily intelligent" gorilla. Hope it's as good as Jumanji!
By the way, if sci-fi monster film is your thing, 2016's Shin Godzilla is also said to be imported in April. King Kong and Godzilla are going for a battle earlier in a different timeline it seems.
Isle of Dogs - April 20
We've also waited a long long time for this -- if you start from 2009's Fantastic Mr. Fox. Written and directed by Wes Anderson, this stop-motion-animated film features an all-star cast: Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson and Liev Schreiber, and has reached a very positive consensus among critics. Set in a dystopian Japan, Isle of Dogs tells a whimsical and heartwarming tale of a kid and his dogs. And to borrow the latest headline from Vulture: "Isle of Dogs Should Make You Howl With Joy".