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Mission Impossible III delayed until pirates can release high quality DVDs

From Jonathan Landreth of the Hollywood Reporter:

Car chases, gunfights delay "M:I-3" China bow

Chinese censors have demanded that car chases and gun battles in Shanghai be cut from "Mission: Impossible III" before it can screen locally, industry executives and news reports said Thursday.

Communist censors phoned "M:I-3" distributor United International Pictures on Wednesday with a list of edits, Chinese media reported, citing a UIP executive. Censors also asked producers to lose images of laundry hanging from bamboo poles and villagers gambling at mahjong...

... Even if "M:I-3" producers bow to the censors' demands in order to tap the small but growing number of mainland moviegoers, the film is unlikely to screen until mid-July. A Film Bureau official said the state-run release schedule is full until then, and includes a typical summer blackout of foreign films from June 10-July 11.

By that stage, "M:I-3" will likely have lost much of its box office potential to widespread illegal DVDs. The film is already playing in Taiwan and Hong Kong, and poor-quality pirated copies with Chinese subtitles are selling for less than $1 each on the streets of Beijing.

Yup, those car chases and villagers playing mahjong would really hurt the Chinese people's feelings. Cut 'em out!

See also this Danwei post: Tom Cruise tarnishes Shanghai's image?

BONUS: Below is the full, uncut version of the story from Hollywood Reporter:

Car chases, gun fights delay 'M:I-3' China bow
Shanghai scenes earn censors' wrath
By Jonathan Landreth

BEIJING (The Hollywood Reporter) -- State censors have demanded that car chases and gun battles in Shanghai be cut from "Mission: Impossible III" before it can screen in China, allowing pirates more time to cash in on the Tom Cruise blockbuster, industry executives and Chinese media said Thursday.

Communist censors, China's state-appointed image police, telephoned "M:I-3" distributor United International Pictures on Wednesday with a list of edits, Chinese media reported, citing a UIP executive. Censors also asked producers to lose images of laundry hanging from bamboo poles and villagers gambling at mahjong.

"These guys can be supersensitive about foreign films' portrayal of China," Teng Jimeng, professor of film and American studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said. For example, director Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" films were rejected, Teng said, because "The censors didn't like that he 'expropriated' Chinese martial arts."

UIP and the Film Bureau both declined to comment about the review process for "M:I-3," which shot for a few days in Shanghai last year and has already earned about $214 million worldwide since its release.

Hollywood studio executives working in China say the censors review committee, a rotating group of between seven and 12 Communist Party officials, seldom offers an explanation when it asks for cuts and seldom does so in writing.

Even if "M:I-3"producers bow to China's censors to tap the small but growing number of mainland moviegoers, the film is unlikely to screen until mid-July. A Film Bureau official said the state-run release schedule is full until then and includes a typical annual summer blackout of foreign films from June 10-July 11.

But industry observers say that a delayed "M:I-3"release could be in deference to two domestic propaganda films now racing to finish in time for the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist party on July 1, 1921.

"There's always a summer blackout, but this anniversary is a big one for China," said Li Chow, chief representative on the mainland for Sony Pictures, whose "Da Vinci Code," starring Tom Hanks, will enjoy a day-and-date release on Friday.

"My Long March" and "Bloody Red Path," chronicle the legendarily harsh retreat of Mao Zedong's army before his rise to power and the founding of the People's Republic in 1949. If finished in time, one or both propaganda films are likely to get prime mid-summer billing in China's 3,000 odd cinemas. Last December, President Hu Jintao urged the country's 100-year old film industry to make films that uphold country and party.

If forced to wait until mid-July, "M:I-3"could lose much of its boxoffice potential to widespread illegal DVDs. The film opened in Taiwan and Hong Kong earlier this month and poor quality pirated copies with Chinese subtitles already are selling for less than $1 each on the streets of Beijing.

"Unless you have a day-and-date release, piracy is going to eat into your boxoffice in China. That's a guarantee," said one Hollywood studio executive who declined to be identified.

Motion Picture Assn. data estimates that 90% of all discs of its member companies' films sold in China are illegal.

There are currently 1 Comments for Mission Impossible III delayed until pirates can release high quality DVDs.

Comments on Mission Impossible III delayed until pirates can release high quality DVDs

The title hits the nail on the head and the censors know exactly that.

Anyhow doesn't the State Film Authority require a perusal of the script before shooting can occur on the mainland? And with such a big production like MI III it wasn't like no one knew what the sets looked like.

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