Quentin Tarantino’s hopes of taking “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” to China next week, his first proper release in the Middle Kingdom in years, appear to be in ruins.
The film was expected to open there as Chinese financier, Beijing-based Bona Film Group, took a sizeable equity stake in the film. Now, THR reports that according to multiple sources in Beijing the film’s local release has been indefinitely put on hold and no official explanation for the cancellation has been offered by Beijing regulators.
According to the outlet’s sources, the likely reason ties to Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee who made a direct appeal to China’s National Film Administration asking that it demand changes to her father’s controversial portrayal in the film – Lee is the only character of Chinese descent in the movie.
Bona Film Group is said to be frantically working with Tarantino on a new cut in time for it to be re-approved ahead of its originally planned October 25th release date.
Tarantino tried to crack into the Chinese market before with “Django Unchained” which initially received permission to screen in China but was ordered pulled from cinemas across the country mere minutes into its opening night and wasn’t release again until over a month later and in heavily edited form.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has earned $366 million to date and a Chinese release was expected to help push the title’s worldwide box office total past the $400 million mark.