Chinese Government Pulling Avatar From 1,628 Screens

Posted on January 19, 2010

Avatar has been a huge hit in China. In fact, it's such a big it that the Chinese government is pulling the film from 1,628 2-D screens. The government says that the film is being pulled to make way for a biography about ancient philosopher Confucius starring Chow Yun Fat, but other sources say that the real reason the film is being pulled is that it shines a light on the forced eviction of residents to make way for government projects. The L.A. Times reports:

According to the Hong Kong newspaper Apple Daily, the switch was made at the urging of propaganda officials who are concerned that "Avatar" is taking too much market share from Chinese films and drawing unwanted attention to the sensitive issue of forced evictions.

Millions of Chinese have been uprooted to make way for high-rise buildings and government infrastructure projects in the fast-growing country. In "Avatar," human colonists try to demolish the village of an alien race to obtain a precious energy source buried under it.

Although losing the 2-D screens is a blow to the hugely successful "Avatar," which has grossed more than $1.6 billion around the world, it will not knock out the movie's primary revenue source in the country. Nearly 900 3-D screens in China have generated $49 million of its $76 million in ticket sales there so far, according to Fox. It's already the most successful movie of all time in the country, the studio said.

Avatar was tops at the box office in the U.S. once again this past weekend.

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