2D Avatar pulled from China screens
The 2D version of Avatar is being pulled from screens in China, apparently to reduce competition for the homegrown film industry ahead of the nation's biggest holiday season.
The 3D and Imax versions of James Cameron's global hit will continue their run into February, but Saturday marks the end of 2D screenings of the science fiction epic, which also dramatises the forced eviction of a people - a politically sensitive subject in China.
China Film Group, the state-run domestic distributor of the Hollywood blockbuster, has ordered the move after receiving instructions from China's censors.
Reportedly, part of the reason is to reduce competition for China's homegrown films, like the state-backed biopic of Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher, starring Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-fat, which opens this Thursday.
The Beijing Youth Daily on Tuesday quoted UME International Cineplex assistant manager Liu Hui confirming the pullout at cinemas in the capital. She said it won't affect the cinema's revenues.
"In UME, the 3D and Imax version make up 90 per cent of our box-office income, so it won't affect the majority of viewers. With the pullout of the 2D version, movies like Confucius will gain some room for showing," she said.
China remains highly protective of its domestic film industry, allowing only 20 foreign films into the Chinese market each year.
Cameron, who visited Beijing in December as part of Avatar's press tour, had called on China to end that restriction, which is also being challenged by the World Trade Organisation.