Published: Sat, October 19, 2019
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

China Halts Release of Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

China Halts Release of Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

The Quentin Tarantino comedy-drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt would be the filmmaker's first proper release in China, but a week before Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was set to debut in theaters, regulators abruptly reversed course.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood has grossed roughly $366 million in theaters worldwide.

The film was scheduled to release in the country on October 25 after it received a go-ahead from the Chinese censor board.

Shannon Lee, who lives in Los Angeles, appealed to China's National Film Administration to rework the portrayal of Bruce Lee before the release.

The decision is expected to cost tens of millions of sales in lost box office costs.

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Representatives for the studio, Sony Pictures, did not immediately return a request for comment to Business Insider.

Lee's daughter, Shannon, has been vocal in her criticisms of the portrayal, calling the depiction "disheartening" and a "mockery". The talk around the cancellation seems to agree that it's the controversial depiction of Bruce Lee - a national idol in China and a Hollywood icon, as an arrogant blowhard who is easily defeated by Pitt's stuntman Cliff - that prompted Beijing regulators to cancel the release.

While an admitted fan of Tarantino's work, he said that Lee's portrayal is demeaning and handled in a "sloppy and somewhat racist way". Sources at the time showed THR that a senior Communist Party official had seen the film on the opening night and had problems with graphic violence.

If you're planning to catch Tarantino's ninth film during its Chinese theatrical run, you'll have to wait a while: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood's release in the Middle Kingdom has been "indefinitely put on hold" according to The Hollywood Reporter. After receiving heavy cuts, it was released a month later earning just $2.6 million as unedited pirated copies were already made available ahead of its release.

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