Those crazy Chinese film officials are at it again after the sudden announcement that the smash hit animated feature from Universal, Despicable Me 2 won’t be granted a release. With no real reason given for the banning, its more than likely the film could be clashing with some domestic animated feature, as was the case with The Croods, which was pulled from screens in June when it showed signs of eclipsing the domestic box office and pushing local Chinese produced films into the dark.
But while execs at Universal will be lamenting the loss of ticket sales in what has become a major player in global box office takings, you have to feel slightly remorseful for the Chinese public who have been reading about the films popularity in the local press for the past month, but who are now denied the antics of the films goggled, yellow skinned stars, The Minions as well as the brilliant voice talents of Steve Carell, Kristen Wigg, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan and Russell Brand. And while some might shrug at China’s heavy handed influence in box office manipulation, imagine if Film Australia decided to ban The Avengers to give The Sapphires a bigger chunk of domestic gross or side-lined Taken 2 in favour of Mental hitting more screens. Sure it would be better for Australian productions – then again, unlike Australian audience, Chinese film goers do actually pay for and enjoy Chinese Films – but it would raise a tsunami of civil unrest.
But it ain’t all bad news for the Chinese denizens with Pixar’s Monster’s University currently slated for a wide release on August 23rd beneath the five star flag. And of course serious animated film buffs can always jump the pond to Hong Kong where a fabled cinematic industry enjoys a blissful, deregulated freedom far removed from mainland politics.