China’s Avatar Restrictions Cause a Stir

The closure of the blockbuster Avatar, which has been replaced in Chinese cinemas with the epic Confucius, has generated much discussion of the possible reasons for the decision. From the Wall Street Journal:

Ever since the movie landed in China, Internet users began associating its story with the struggles of China’s “nail house” dwellers against big property developers.

“I wonder whether [Avatar director James] Cameron knocked the script out after years of undercover investigation in China,” wrote blogger Li Chengpeng. “In one word, Avatar is a movie celebrating the nail house owners’ successful efforts to oppose the demolition crews.”

Major publications and news portals in China were said to have received orders from government authorities to downplay discussion about nail houses related to the movie. Avatar’s success in China has also prompted a fair amount of debate among moviegoers and those in the film industry over whether China will ever produce a similarly spectacular film.

China Beat also has two posts analyzing the movie and reactions to its closure. Sam Crane writes “The Tao of Avatar — and why this sort of movie cannot be made in the PRC at this point in time…” and Stanley Rosen writes, “The Political Economy of Avatar’s Chinese Adventure.”

January 22, 2010 2:52 PM
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