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Tarantino film runs afoul of China as release is halted

Christopher Palmeri

Bloomberg

 /  Sat, October 19, 2019  /  04:06 pm
Tarantino film runs afoul of China as release is halted

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'. (Courtesy of/Sony Pictures)

Chinese authorities halted a planned Oct. 25 release of director Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood,” the latest in a growing number of costly trade and cultural disputes between the US and the world’s most-populous country.

The decision to halt the release may have been tied to the violence in the film or the portrayal of Bruce Lee, the late martial arts movie star. Lee’s daughter made a direct appeal to China’s National Film Administration requesting changes to the scenes that depict her father, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The director is refusing to make any changes.

“Once Upon a Time” has taken in $366.7 million globally since its U.S. debut in July. It’s the second-highest grossing release of the year for Sony Corp., after the latest “Spider-Man” installment.

Read also: The best of the Tarantino cinematic universe

Lee comes off badly in the film, boasting about his fighting skills and then getting whipped by Brad Pitt’s character.

Although the indefinite postponement doesn’t appear to be related to US-China trade negotiations or pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, it underscores delicate nature of doing business in the country.

The NBA recently lost a number of local sponsors in China when the general manager of the Houston Rockets tweeted his support for protesters in Hong Kong. Commissioner Adam Silver said “the financial consequences may go on and be fairly dramatic.”