Case Study

Delivering A Blockbuster Film to China—in a Carry-on Bag

The MNX Way

  • A major Hollywood movie studio needed to deliver a blockbuster film master drive to China during the weekend of a major holiday week.
  • The studio faced a narrow delivery window, customs clearance pitfalls and potential piracy concerns.
  • With our On-Board Courier solution, a trained and vetted MNX courier hand-carried the master drive to China.
  • Our courier delivered on Saturday morning—right in time for in-country distribution.


Nearly 1.4 billion people call China home—including a growing middle class that’s larger than the entire population of the United States. And what does the world’s most populous nation do for fun? Go to the movies, making China one of the world’s most lucrative markets for Hollywood filmmakers.

The challenge is that China allows only a limited number of foreign films to enter the country each year. So only the biggest blockbusters from any movie studio are released there. When the opportunity is this large—and the restrictions this tight—there’s little room for error. And that’s what keeps studio executives up at night: what if the release date is missed because the movie master drive doesn’t arrive in time?

When there are no second chances, there’s MNX.

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Overcoming every challenge

A major Los Angeles-based motion picture studio needed to deliver a film release master hard drive to China for distribution. The movie was the latest chapter in one of Hollywood’s most storied—and profitable—franchises. So missing the release date was not an option.

To make it on time, the studio had to overcome a major challenge: the master drive needed to be delivered over the weekend of a major holiday week. To make matters worse, the cargo customs facility at the destination airport was operating at reduced hours due to the holiday, so there was a tremendous backlog.

That wasn’t the only challenge. Because this film was one of the most anticipated blockbusters of the year, it required a high level of security to avoid potential piracy.

Narrow delivery window, customs clearance issues, piracy concerns: the studio had many challenges. MNX had the single solution for them all.


Taking matters into our own hands

Cargo customs can be a black hole during an average week: clearance can take six hours—or six days. Add the delays of a major holiday week, and the studio couldn’t chance clearing the master drive via the usual cargo customs channels.

MNX had the right workaround: replace cargo customs with passenger customs, which is always open if international flights are arriving. With our On-Board Courier solution, an MNX courier—trained and vetted in transporting high-security media for the entertainment industry—hand-carried the master drive to China. The courier was given all the necessary paperwork and clearance documents to clear customs as a passenger arriving in China.

Throughout the process, MNX provided regular updates on shipment status—from check-in to boarding and arrival.


The show must go on (and it did, right on time)

The MNX courier delivered the master drive on Sunday morning—right in time for in-country distribution. There was never an issue that the shipment could be “stuck” in customs, leaving theater screens dark nationwide. Just as important, the MNX courier had full control and custody of the master drive from pick up to delivery.

For the movie studio, this is precision logistics at work. For moviegoers, it’s a few hours of fun—thanks to some creative problem solving, an experienced courier—and a passionate belief at MNX that the show must (always) go on.