China’s state-run movie distributor China Film Group has unexpectedly yanked James Cameron’s blockbuster hit Avatar from 1,628 2D theaters in favor of a biography on Confucius starring Chow-Yun Fat.
The Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily says, the move was made at the request of propaganda officials concerned that Avatar is taking too much market share from Chinese films and drawing unwanted attention to the sensitive issue of forced evictions.
David Wolf of Wolf Group Asia, disagreed with Apple Daily’s assessment of the story. “There’s certain windows in the year that are held for domestic films,” Wolf said. “We’re coming up on Chinese New Year, so this can be expected.”
This isn’t the first time that a hollywood movie has been pulled from Chinese theaters, in 1996 The Da vinci Code was also pulled after a short lived showing in theaters.
According to the LA Times,
Only 20 foreign movies per year are allowed to be shown in China’s theaters. “Avatar,” which opened worldwide in mid-December, was held in Chinese theaters until January because the 2009 quota had already been filled.
What I don’t understand is if Avatar is a political concern of the Chinese government, then why is it not being pulled from the 3D theaters? Maybe they just wants to have movies with good plot lines in their theaters, that would explain the pulling of Avatar and The Da Vinci Code. ;)
Source: LA Times – ‘Avatar’ pulled from 2D Screens by Chinese government