Shanghai blocked by Chinese government
It does look as though the Chinese authorities are trying to stop western films which could portray anything about their country in any bad light from entering their county as the film Shanghai is refused permission to film in the country. Instead it will head to Japan and recreate the feel for the film there.
Apparently the refusal comes as a big shock to the production and those involved as they had been continuing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in the country during the six months of pre-production. Now that it's been blocked there's been no real reason given.
Mikael Håfström talked of the disappointment through Variety:
"We wouldn't have spent millions of kronor (hundreds of thousands of dollars) in this country over the past six months if we hadn't been completely sure we would receive a permit...This obviously comes as a shock to all of us. We don't know exactly why we have been turned down."
According to unnamed sources, seven other co-productions may have also been refused from filming in China, although this has yet to be confirmed. The article also suggests that Chinese authorities are becoming more concerned that films are going to tarnish the image of the country, something I think it ludicrous, because in no way is the banning of films casting a poor light on the country is it? Even then, the films will just go and shoot elsewhere and recreate the sets they need, they'll not stop the films getting made and in fact will just create a negative feeling with the film-making community, possibly leading to more negative films. Great logic.
However some sources are suggesting that the issue is really to do with the Weinstein company who the Chinese officials are still upset over the fact that the company pulled out just days before filming of a movie by Chen Kaige which was a project of particularly importance to the country, Wu ji (The Promise). Reprisals are hardly going to help the Chinese film market though as Hollywood and other film-makers will just turn away.