Just when we thought things were getting better in China the commies ruin everything. This from the Wall Street Journal:
BEIJING—Chinese authorities have sharply curtailed showings of the movie “Avatar,” in hopes of protecting local films from the runaway blockbuster.
The film, whose antiauthoritarian message has struck a chord among many ordinary Chinese, sold about $44 million of tickets in the week after its Jan. 4 debut in China, and one report said the total had nearly doubled to $81 million as of Sunday. That would easily make it the top-grossing movie in Chinese film history. But with a state-sponsored biography of the Chinese philosopher Confucius due out Thursday, the film’s run is being reined in, cinema- and film-industry officials say.
An official with China Stellar Film Co. said the distribution company had received an “urgent notice” Tuesday from China Film Group, the government quasimonopoly that distributes most films in China, saying China Stellar had to stop running two-dimensional versions of Avatar. The official said 3-D and IMAX versions of the film would still be shown. China has an estimated 800 3-D and IMAX screens, compared with 4,500 normal 2-D screens.
China still sharply limits foreign films, with only 20 allowed in each year. It also blacks out foreign films during key national holidays—such as the upcoming Chinese New Year season, when cinemas are heavily trafficked—to bolster the local industry. Sometimes it also reduces distribution of films when authorities feel they have earned enough or when they conflict with state-backed films.
Several years ago, for example, independent Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke complained that his edgy movie about the destruction of the Three Gorges had been pulled early from cinemas to make way for a film by Zhang Yimou, a government favorite.
Some commentators also have speculated that Avatar was pulled for political reasons. Some Chinese have seen the film as a symbol for how rapacious property developers have kicked many ordinary people out of their homes.
Writing in the “China Daily,” a government English-language newspaper aimed at foreigners, columnist Huang Hung said “all the forced removal of old neighborhoods in China makes us the only earthlings today who can really feel the pain of the Na’vi,” the alien group in “Avatar” that stood up to colonialists from Earth.
I wonder if James Cameron has the balls to do a Google?