- Shen Yun
James Cameron’s science fiction film Avatar has been a blockbuster hit in China, pulling in more than $40 million dollars as of January 12th. But now Chinese officials have ordered theaters to stop showing it.
According to Hong Kong’s Apple Daily, Beijing propaganda authorities ordered the state-run China Film Group to stop cinemas from showing the 2-D version of Avatar nationwide as of January 23rd.
In the film, a military-backed corporation from Earth wants to expel a group of natives on a distant planet’s moon—so they can exploit a mineral found on their land.
The dramatization of this massive eviction seems to be making Chinese censors nervous.
Many Chinese are comparing the exploitation in Avatar with what often happens in China: Local authorities or developers forcibly evicting Chinese people from their homes—sometimes with the help of hired thugs.
Popular Chinese blogger Han Han writes, “For audiences in other countries, such brutal eviction is something beyond their imagination. It could only take place on another planet—or in China.”
Apple Daily reports that authorities have two main reasons for pulling Avatar. One is that they say it has seized too much market share from domestic films. The other is that it, quote, “may lead audiences to think about forced removal, and may possibly incite violence.”
The 2-D version of Avatar was supposed to play until February 28th, but now authorizes have ordered it to stop as of January 23rd. The 3-D version will continue showing, but China has only a relatively small number of 3-D cinema screens.