China delays Harry Potter release to make room for the Communist party epic

19 July 2011 23 h 10 min 16 comments

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″ which was supposed to be released in China on 4th August could be delayed in order to make more room for the two-hour epic on the Communist party.

Fortunately, the counterfeit DVD sellers already offer the poor-quality copies of the film in the streets of Mainland China.

The release of Harry Potter last episode could be postponed up to mid-august. And two other foreign films could get same treatments, “Deathly Hallows” also supposed to be released on 4 August and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon on Thursday”, planned in August.

This practice is not new. Two years ago, China theaters were asked to stop to show foreign films in order to increase the tickets sales for the first patriotic epic, “the founding of a party”.

“Unlike the US, films are not treated just as consumer products in China. More importance is given to their role in shaping opinion and educating the public,” said Li Hongyu, a film journalist for the South Weekend newspaper. “But the situation is better than it was 10 years ago. At least the Communist party no longer requires its members to go to the cinema for certain movies.”

According to the Guardian, “Harry Potter fans have joked that their best option was to help the Communist party achieve its goal – purportedly 800 million yuan (£77.5m) – ahead of time. “The fans of Transformers and Harry Potter should join forces and encourage their dads, mums, uncles, aunts, grandfathers, grandmothers, etc to see The Beginning of the Great Revival. Then we won’t wait until August,” blogged Gudushizhe88 on the Baidu Tieba web forum.”

The official Xinhua news agency says the historical film earned $46m during its first three weeks – not far from the record pace the authorities had aimed for. But these figures are difficult to be validated. With state-owned enterprises buying up large blocks of tickets, the film’s popularity has been questioned.

Box-office receipts last year in China totaled $1.57 billion, up 64% from 2009. Even with their comparatively small numbers, (20 with revenues sharing) foreign films drew 44% of all receipts and made up four of the Top 10 draws last year.

“You can control the system and all the incentives for people to watch movies, but at the end of the day they are going to watch what they want to watch,” said to NYT Kevin Lee, vice president for programming at dGenerate Films, a US distributor of independent movies from China, most of which are never seen at mainland theaters.

SOURCES: NYT, Times of India, Guardian (19/07/2011)

Picture of Harry Potter (c)


. Article in the Guardian

. In China, Potter magic on hold till party film is a hit, Times of India

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