Avatar not forced out of China
The rumours and stories were getting a little het up the other day about China allegedly pushing Avatar (Filmstalker review) out of cinemas, well not so it appears today, and does it really matter considering that the screenings being cut back are those for the 2D version of Avatar? - My that's something I never thought I'd say.
It seems the reason for the cut back in the 2D screenings of the epic film is because another Chinese epic is coming out, Confucius, starring Chow Yun-Fat in the lead role.
I mean how dare the Chinese cinema industry cut back on the number of screens showing an alternative version of a foreign film that's already showing the main version across the country, only in order to show a film made in its own country, featuring one of their internationally known actors, and being about one of their most hallowed figures from history?
If this had happened in Britain, Australia, any other country that's considered a bit of a political hot potato, would there really be an issue? I think not.
The story from Reuters through Yahoo News tells us that the original story was that China was pulling Avatar off of local cinema screens, however they are cutting back on the 2D distrubution, leaving the 3D still running, in order for the 2D Confucious to be released.
It would have been mad of the local industry to totally pull the film since it has already earned more than 300 million yuan (US $43.94 million), and it is an industry decision if the government are to be believed:
"Whether a movie closes or not, it's a market behavior decision…The government will not interfere."
That came from an official at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, and the regulator's deputy chief, Zhang Hongsen, was even more specific:
"The box office performance of the 2D version has not been great, whereas it's been really hard to get tickets for the 3D version…So it's normal to take the 2D version off the screens. There'll be no change for the 3D version."
He did admit that there might be a connection with Confucious:
"Perhaps it's because that 'Confucius' is just coming out, but 'Confucius' has no 3D version, so there ought not to be any conflict."
Seems like a bit of a non-starter of a rumour there. There's no ban, and Chinese audiences are enjoying Avatar (Filmstalker review) as much as we are, just not so much on 2D which would also be a reflection of our audiences as well wouldn't it?