Django Unchained opened in Chinese cinemas this week, and was set to be Tarantino’s first film with a commercial release in China. However, the film was pulled from cinemas after just one minute of footage was shown.
The film was released last Thursday, put was pulled almost instantly, and Sony (who released the film) told Deadline, “We regret that Django Unchained has been removed from theaters and are working with the Chinese authorities to determine whether the film can be rescheduled.”
“Django screenings have been postponed and we can’t guarantee when they will be resumed,” said a woman at the Sanlitun Megabox theatre in Beijing.
The reason for the film being pulled? In some cinemas where the film was pulled after just one minute, announcements were made to cinema, with some taking to Internet sites to explain “After watching it for about a minute, it stopped!” said microblogger Xue Yi Dao. “Staff then came in and said [film censors] … had called to say it had to be delayed!! Can someone tell me what’s happening!!”
It has been reported that one reason for the film being pulled made me due to a nude scene involving Jamie Foxx, while others are saying the violence and ‘darker’ colour of the blood could be the reason. However, Tarantino ‘toned down’ some of the violence in the film so that it would appeal to the notoriously awkward Chinese market. “What we call bloodshed and violence is just a means of serving the purpose of the film, and these slight adjustments will not affect the basic quality of the film,” the director of Sony Pictures’ China branch, Zhang Miao, told the Southern Metropolis Daily newspaper.
Even after the edits, the film was set to run for the entire 165 minutes, and was even passed by China’s hard to please test screening censors. In contrast, Skyfall had to remove an entire scene where James Bond kills a security guard in Shanghai, and Cloud Atlas was cut by a massive 40 minutes, mainly due to its graphic sex scenes.
The government-owned Shanghai United Circuit issued an emergency notice requiring the city’s cinemas to halt screenings of the film and grant refunds to ticketholders, according to an article on the Sohu website.
(Sources: Deadline, The Guardian)