Golden Globe, Shmolden Globe. You know a movie's a real phenom when the People's Republic of China censors it—and tells theaters to play "a patriotic biopic on the life of Confucius" instead.
The Hong Kong Daily Apple (translated and summarized in The Telegraph) reports that, though James Cameron's saga of hair sex and perfect CGI breasts was expected to earn 500 million yuan ($73 million) at the Chinese box office, the state-run China Film Group changed its mind and decided to allow only the 3D version of the film in—a de facto ban on general distribution since so few Chinese theaters have 3D equipment. The Apple continues:
The Central Publicity Department is said to have issued an order to the media prohibiting it from hyping up Avatar. ... Reportedly, the authorities have two reasons for this check on Avatar: first, it has taken in too much money and has seized market share from domestic films, and second, it may lead audiences to think about forced removal, and may possibly incite violence.
The Telegraph speculates that accusations of racism may also be bogging Avatar down, with the PRC particularly weary of ethnic unrest after last summer's Uighur riots. The China Film Group keeps finite quantitative limits on the amount of Western influence in the nation's cinemas at any given moment, which means heavy political jockeying goes into which movies get slotted in, and when. Luckily, China has the most robust pirating economy in the world, so China will still gets its Avatards; they'll just be watching on smaller screens, and James Cameron won't get paid. [Telegraph]