Avatar ousted to make way for Confucius?


Update (2010.01.20): SARFT has responded to the rumors (it denies them, natch).

Microblogs in China are buzzing with a report that Avatar may be pulled from 2D screens to make way for Confucius (孔子), the new biopic directed by Hu Mei and starring Chow Yun-fat as the sage.

Avatar, a Hollywood import, has grossed 500 million yuan in China since it was released at the beginning of the month.

The Wuxi Big World Cineplex posted the following notice to its website today:

Urgent Notice

The China Film Group Company and the distribution network have given notice that Avatar (all versions) will close immediately on January 23 all across the country! We ask your understanding! Viewers who have purchased tickets for the 23rd and the 24th may obtain a refund from the box office before the 22nd!

To satisfy the viewing needs of the audience, the cinema will add midnight showings from the 21st and 22nd. Grab them quickly!

Wuxi Big World Cineplex

The notice has now been taken down, but it is still visible in a cached copy on Baidu.

According to the China News Agency, which spoke to the cinema, the posting was in error: the cinema said it had not received any notice, and it would only be stopping 2D versions of Avatar (film and digital) on the 23rd. The 3D version would continue to be shown.

There is no 3D version of Confucius, commenters have pointed out. Other sources have been reporting that the 2D Avatar has indeed been ordered to give way to Confucius. Commenter DarkSideMoon in a related Douban thread wrote:

I asked classmate of mine who works at a cinema:

PlayingDead 16:15:06
Avatar is being pulled, or so I've heard?

SS 16:17:39
Uh-huh. The 3D version will continue playing — it's just the other versions that will stop, to give way for our sainted Confucius.

PlayingDead 16:17:49

SS 16:18:26
Confucius has utterly defeated Avatar.

Hong Kong's Apple Daily ran a report containing further rumors:

China Film instructed all locations to stop showing the ordinary version of Avatar and to show only the 3D version. The Central Publicity Department issued an order to the media prohibiting it from hyping up Avatar. 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.

A mainland source close to China Film confirmed that the company had recently issued instructions ordering the 2D and film version of Avatar to be taken down this week, leaving only the 3D version still showing.

Because there are so few 3D cinemas on the mainland, the order effectively prevents the general distribution of Avatar. The source said that the order had come from SARFT: "It may be a political decision." Reportedly, even the 3D version will only be able to screen for three to four weeks. Avatar premiered in China on the fourth of the month.

According to the source, the Central Publicity Department has ordered propaganda departments to ensure that the media does not hype up Avatar, and that they correctly guide public opinion. At the same time, it instructed the entertainment news media to shift its attention to the upcoming domestic blockbuster Confucius. Confucius, starring Hong Kong actor Chow Yun-fat, will premiere across the mainland on the 22nd.

Update (2010.01.19): Shenyang's Huashang Morning Post reports that many cinemas in the city are replacing Avatar with Confucius on the 23rd:

Yesterday at 7pm, this reporter learned from the Wanda International Cineplex in Shenyang that the 2D version of Avatar would end its run on the 22nd. Manager Zhao Yong said, "This evening we received word from our superiors that SARFT has issued a notice stating that Avatar, which was originally intended to show through February 11, would be pulled from the market on January 22, leaving only the 3D version behind. Right now, Avatar's daily box office take is approaching 200,000, but there's still a little room in the marketplace."

This reporter then sought to confirm this news with other cinemas in Shenyang. Gao Yunying, manager of the Huachen Cineplex in Sanhao, said, "Confucius will start showing on the 22nd, so we need to free up a few theaters for it. And pulling the 2D version of Avatar won't really affect the cinema very much because audiences are coming in for the 3D version."

As of last night, not all cinemas in Shenyang had received the news, but this reporter learned from media in places like Changchun and Nanjing that Avatar's 2D version will most certainly exit the market this week.

Links and Sources
There are currently 11 Comments for Avatar ousted to make way for Confucius?.

Comments on Avatar ousted to make way for Confucius?

It's my fault.

I let slip that Avatar is a perfect metaphor for Beijing's sacking of Tibet since 1959.

They should have made the poster blue and nobody would have noticed the difference...

Avatar is so over-rated. The most memorable thing is Sigourney Weaver's line-free face. Looks like one Botox shot away from the acid-dripping monster she blasted finally away in Aliens3. Watch on video if don't believe. Like, when she screams: get away from her, you b*&^h!!!

re: Stuart

Only to hippy foreigners


Doesn't really matter, enough money has been made and everyone will get it on fake DVD soon anyway. Still, just proves how protectionist China is, and then they call the US protectionist. Hypocrites.

Not another costume drama. What's up with the chinese government and all thes big budget costume bio snooze fests? Couldn't they think up something- ANYTHING- to say in the modern context? They remind me of those people who are forever remniscing about high school. It's just depressing to be around them.

Is it just me or does Chow Yun Fat look constipated in the poster above?

he's thinking very, very, hard.

Poor Chow Yun Fat

The decision has been partially reverted: link

China Media Timeline
Major media events over the last three decades
Danwei Model Workers
The latest recommended blogs and new media
From 2008
Front Page of the Day
A different newspaper every weekday
From the Vault
Classic Danwei posts
+ Culture and corporate propaganda in Soho Xiaobao (2007.11): Mid-2007 issues of Soho Xiaobao (SOHO小报), illustrating the complicated identity of in-house magazines run by real estate companies.
+ Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship (2010.03): Internet executives complain about excessive Net censorship at an officially sanctioned meeting in Shenzhen.
+ Crowd-sourced cheating on the 2010 gaokao (2010.06): A student in Sichuan seeks help with the ancient Chinese section of this year's college entrance exam -- while the test is going on!
Danwei Archives