China to Pull Back ‘Avatar’ for Domestic Film

The New York Times has more on the removal of Avatar from theaters in China:

The film, which can be viewed in standard format or in 3-D, will be yanked from theaters without 3-D technology in order to make way for a domestically produced biography of Confucius, according to reports in state-controlled media that mainly quote theater operators.

“Avatar” will continue to play on the scarcer but more popular 3-D screens, the reports said. The film has been showing at an estimated 2,500 theaters since Jan. 4. According to 20th Century Fox, the movie’s distributor, the film has earned $76 million in ticket sales so far, making it the most successful movie of all time in China.

China only allows 20 foreign films a year to be shown in theaters. Industry analysts say China Film Group Corporation, a state-run enterprise, heavily influences if not controls decisions on how long and where foreign firms are shown.

See also “Avatar Breaks Chinese Box Office Records — and Inspires Activists” from dGenerate Films.

Meanwhile, Google’s staff in China, whose future is up in the air, was treated by the company to a free showing of the movie, AFP reports.

January 19, 2010 2:04 PM
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