The movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt was planned to be the first proper director release in China that would help push the box office worldwide for over $ 400 million.
In a shocking twist, not unlike the end of a movie about Quentin Tarantino or two, Once upon a time, Hollywood box office ambitions (1
A critically acclaimed film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, was approved for release in China on October 25, but regulators abruptly changed course.
According to multiple sources close to the Beijing situation, who asked not to be named because they were not allowed to speak publicly on the matter, Once upon a time, a local Hollywood newspaper was put on hold indefinitely.
The movie would have been Tarantino's first correct version in China, and the country's huge market was expected to help push the total box office worldwide, topping the $ 400 million mark (so far, earning $ 366 million). The abrupt change comes as a blow to both Sony Pictures and Chinese financiers of the Beijing-based Bona Film Group.
As THR reported exclusively in January, Bona took a significant stake in There was once that granted the company participation in the movie box office and distribution rights in the Big China. Bona and COO's executive directors, Yu Dong and Jeffrey Chan, respectively, have been recognized as executive producers of the film.
As is typical in China, official explanations for the repeal are not offered by Beijing regulators. Bona Film Group did not respond to texts and emails, and Sony's China office could not be reached immediately.
But the story, wrapped up in the executive ranks of the Chinese film industry on Friday, was that the decision stems from the somewhat controversial portrayal of Tarantino martial arts hero Bruce Lee in the film. The late Lee's friends and family blasted the director for the portrayal, saying that the star of the actual action did not behave as she was portrayed in the movie and would never lose the battle with Brad Pitt.
According to sources close to the Bonn and China Film Bureau, Bruce Lee's daughter, Shannon Li, directly addressed the Chinese National Film Administration asking her to change her father's portrayal.
Played by Mike Moh , Lee in At one time in the Hollywood of Sony he was wildly cocky and claimed to be able to "cripple" Mohammed Ali in a fight (called Cassius Clay). The character of Brad Pitt, a stuntman and former war hero named Cliff Booth, laughs in Lee's face at the comment, and then the two enter a "friendly" race over who can knock the other down three times without hitting the face. The clash ends before either side wins, but Pete seems to have an edge near the end after throwing Lee away from a classic car.
Sources describe a last-minute moment in Bono to work with Tarantino to cut the movie in time to be ready for its originally scheduled release date of October 25.
The only previous Tarantino title that came close to proper theatrical performance in China was its western Django Unchained from 2012 . This movie also initially got screen approval, but was strangely ordered to be pulled from movie theaters nationwide minutes into opening night.
Again, an official explanation for the sudden change was never provided, but sources said at the time that a senior Communist Party official had watched the movie at night's opening and went on screen with his graphic violence. Django received severe redundancies and was released a month later; but until then, pirated copies were widely available with Chinese subtitles. The unedited, pirated version became widespread, but the delayed official version dropped out and quickly faded from the cinemas, earning only $ 2.6 million.
More to come …