Just yesterday Avatar became the highest grossing film in China, pulling in 500 million yuan ($73.2 million) in just two weeks. However, some people (the Chinese Government) aren’t too happy about it and are removing the film from screens throughout the country.
From The Times:
China plans to pull Avatar from most cinemas, despite the long queues for tickets, to make way for a more patriotic film the censors deem more appropriate – a life of Confucius.
The move comes amid government anxiety that many Chinese are making a link between the plight of the film’s Na’vi, who face being displaced form their homeland, and that of those in China who are subject to often brutal evictions by property developers.
Hong Kong’s Apple Daily said the state-run China Film Group had instructed cinemas nationwide to stop showing the ordinary version of Avatar from January 23 on orders from Beijing’s propaganda czars.
The newspaper said: “Reportedly, the authorities have two reasons for this check on Avatar: first, it has taken in too much money and has seized market share from domestic films, and second, it may lead audiences to think about forced removal, and may possibly incite violence.”
The film had been due to play until February 28 – meaning it would be showing over the Chinese new year holiday that begins on February 14.
China currently only allows 20 foreign films to be shown in the country each year, and Avatar was one of the films granted that privilege. Some people have claimed that the story of Avatar isn’t anything special, however it seems to be striking a cord with one of the most powerful governments in the world. It’s making people think about their lives, and in the case of China, how they are treated. Avatar really is turning into something more than just a movie.