NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Walt Disney(DIS) - Get Report, which is spending upwards of $2 billion to build the Shanghai Disney Resort with a joint venture of government-owned companies, isn't getting much help from another part of the Chinese government. Its Marvel movie Ant-Man, one of the biggest box-office hits of 2015, was given a Sept. 18 release date in China, the world's second-largest economy, jamming it into a 10-day period with four other high-profile Hollywood films.
Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd as the fast-shrinking super hero, has grossed $148.6 million at theaters in the US and Canada since its July 17 domestic release, according to the web site Box Office Mojo.
Its Sept. 18 release in China pits Ant-Man against Sony's(SNE) - Get Report film Pixels, scheduled for a Sept. 15 release, as well as Minions from Comcast's(CMCSA) - Get Report Universal studio on Sept. 13, according to box office tracking service Rentrak (RENT) . Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, the Tom Cruise blockbuster by Viacom's(VIAB) - Get Report Paramount Pictures, will be released in China on Sept. 8, according to the movie site IMDB.
The very crowded calendar comes as each studio looks to Chinese box-office sales as an integral part of its business model. The recent devaluation of the yuan is likely to put additional downward pressure on box-office sales by making movie tickets feel more expensive.
"That's a huge blow to any Hollywood studio in the Chinese market that's so strong for its movies," says Marc Ganis, the president of Jiaflix, which joined with China Movie Channel as a production partner of the Paramount film Transformers 4. "All of those films will be in competition for word of mouth, screens, Imax (IMAX) - Get Report theaters."
Sales of movie tickets in China last year reached $4.8 billion, trailing only the U.S. market, according to the Motion Picture Assn of America. Disney's film Avengers: Age of Ultron, generated $240 million in China, 17% of its nearly $1.4 billion worldwide box office, according to Box Office Mojo.
The film was released in China on May 11, just after its May 1 U.S. release and against mostly Chinese-made films that week and the next, according to Box Office Mojo. Disney's disappointing film Tomorrowland was released three weeks later and San Andreas, the hit from Time Warner's (TWX) studio Warner Brothers, the next week.
A Disney studio spokesman had no comment, and wouldn't confirm any dates.
In a bid to protect its domestic industry, China limits the numbers of foreign made films released in its market and carves out a month-long period in the summer during which few Hollywood films are released, said Ganis. That leads to a logjam of films immediately after the summer.
Disney's animated film Inside Out, which has grossed nearly $336 million in box office sales at domestic theaters and another $300.1 million internationally, is expected to be released on Oct. 8, according to Rentrak.
The company holds a 43% stake in the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort that is expected to open in Spring 2016. In May it opened its first Disney Store in mainland China.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in Disney and Comcast.