The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

China pulls 'Django Unchained' from theatres on opening day, citing 'technical problem'

  • Print

BEIJING, China - "Django Unchained" became "Django Unscreened" as Quentin Tarantino's violent slave-revenge saga was pulled from Chinese theatres on its opening day, with the importer blaming an unspecified technical problem.

The rare suspension order by China Film Group Corp. was confirmed by theatre employees throughout China, and has led to speculation that the Hollywood film could have run afoul of Chinese censors despite weeks of promotion in the country.

Calls to the importer and to China's regulatory agency, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, were unanswered. A spokesman for Sony Pictures, Steve Elzer, said the studio regrets the film's removal from theatres and is trying to see if it can be rescheduled.

"Django Unchained" reportedly cut some violent scenes and had already been cleared by China's rigorous censors, who generally remove violence, sex and politically edgy content. With such an exacting system, suspension on a film's premiere date is unusual.

Tian Zaixing, general manager of the Beichen Fortune Center movie theatre in the southern city of Kunming, said he could not recall any other imported film being halted on the opening day. The order from China Film Group came in a phone call around 10 a.m. Thursday, he said.

"We were excited about the film," he said. "We had had high expectations for this film's box office."

Tian said he had hoped the movie would bring about one-tenth of the monthly box office, or about 150,000 yuan ($24,000), to his six-screen theatre in April. Now, he must scramble to fill newly opened slots for screening.

"This means we might not be able to meet our box-office goal for the year," Tian said.

He dismissed speculation that a nude scene was the offending culprit.

"The censors have sharper eyes than we do," Tian said. "Shouldn't they have already spotted it?" He added the scene was not lewd at all but powerful in making the audience sympathetic toward one character.

The film stars actors well known to the Chinese audience: Leonardo DiCaprio as a plantation owner and Jamie Foxx as a freed slave who trains to become a bounty hunter and demands his wife's freedom before the U.S. Civil War.

It made more than $160 million at the North American box office and has proved successful overseas as well. China has risen to the second-biggest movie market with sales of $2.7 billion last year, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

A man who is on the official promotional team for the film but refused to give his name because of the perceived sensibility of the issue said there had been no prior warning about the suspension and that the film's midnight premiere was unaffected.

Photographer Xue Yutao said he was about one minute into the movie at a Beijing theatre Thursday morning when a couple of theatre employees walked in and told the audience that the screening would be postponed. The announcer did not give a reason or say when the movie would be re-shown, Xue said.

"It was so sudden. I was very shocked," Xue said. "How could this be possible? Something like this has never happened before."

Xue said he resorted to a pirated copy of the film and did not see anything that would have offended Chinese censors.

"I'm not a noble man," the photographer said of his viewing of pirated movies. "I would still prefer to see it in the theatre."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Rinelle Harper and family thank man who found her

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Bright sunflowers lift their heads toward the south east skies in a  large sunflower field on Hwy 206 and #1 Thursday Standup photo. July 31,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • Goslings enjoy Fridays warm weather to soak up some sun and gobble some grass on Heckla Ave in Winnipeg Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 DAY goose challenge - May 18, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Are you concerned about the death of a seal at the Assiniboine Park Zoo?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google