Move over, “Nomadland” — Italy’s “Pinocchio” is now set to become the first film nominated at this year’s Oscars to hit China.
Although Chloé Zhao’s film nabbed best picture and two other major prizes at the Academy Awards on Sunday, it was pulled quietly from its planned China release on April 23 in the wake of nationalist backlash against her there. This means that Matteo Garrone’s live-action “Pinocchio” is the first of the movies recognized by the Academy this year to get a Chinese theatrical run. It will hit theaters on June 1, Children’s Day.
An adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s original 1883 book “The Adventures of Pinocchio,” it earned Oscar nods for costume design, and makeup and hairstyling this year. The film stars Roberto Benigni as Pinocchio’s father, who is best known for his role in the 1997 drama “Life Is Beautiful,” which was released in China for the first time just last year. It grossed $8.24 million.
“Pinocchio” debuted in the U.S. on Dec. 25, 2020, just before the pandemic and a full year after its premiere in Italy. It earned $1.8 million domestically and $23.2 million globally, earning the most on its home turf in Italy, where it made $17 million.
It’s not the only take on “Pinocchio” in the pipeline. Disney is creating its own live-action remake directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis, which just started shooting in March. Meanwhile, Netflix is backing yet another version — a stop-motion animation from director Guillermo del Toro, with a high-profile voice cast that includes Ewan McGregor and Tilda Swinton, is set for release this year.