Though "Avatar" has become China's most successful movie after making nearly $73 million gross since it's opening on January 4, it hasn't stopped the country's government pulling the film from some of its cinemas over fears it could cause political unrest.
The China Film Group, which is run by the state, believes the plot of human colonists attempting to demolish an alien village for its resources steers too close to a very sensitive issue in China at the moment.
Millions of Chinese people have been evicted from their homes to make room for high rises and government infrastructure projects, reports The LA Times. Avatar's success has also angered some Chinese officials, who fear the film's popularity takes too much market share from their domestic films.
2D showings of "Avatar" will now be pulled from Chinese cinemas, but film fans can still see 3D showings of the sci-fi epic. However, there are so few 3D cinema screens in China, it's essentially a theatrical ban for the Golden Globe-winning movie.
So, instead of "Avatar," Chinese film fans can look forward to the Chow-Yun Fat biopic of the ancient philosopher Confucius in its place.
An Asian media consultancy, Wolf Group Asia, however, insists that the decision to choose Confucius in favour of "Avatar" was all to do with the Chinese New Year holiday, which begins in the middle of February.A spokesperson added, "There are certain windows in the year that are held for domestic films. We're coming up on Chinese New Year, so this can be expected."