China pulled the plug on the release in that country of the Quentin Tarantino movie “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” after Bruce Lee’s daughter reportedly went to the Chinese government with her beef about the film’s portrayal of her father.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, which broke the story of the action by China, the film had been approved for release there on Oct. 25 until government regulators changed their mind.
“According to multiple sources close to the situation in Beijing, who asked not to be named because they weren’t permitted to speak publicly about the matter, ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s’ local release has been indefinitely put on hold,” THR reports. “The film would have been Tarantino’s first proper release in China, and the country’s enormous market was expected to help push the title’s worldwide box office total past the $400 million mark (it has earned $366 million to date).”
The move represents a setback for both Sony Pictures and the movie’s Chinese financier, Beijing-based Bona Film Group, THR notes.
The government did not provide an official explanation, THR reports.
“But the story swirling through the executive ranks of China’s film industry Friday was that the decision stemmed from Tarantino’s somewhat controversial portrayal of martial arts hero Bruce Lee, the only character of Chinese descent in the movie,” THR adds. “Friends and family of the late Lee have blasted the director for the depiction, saying the real-life action star didn’t behave as he’s portrayed in the film.
“According to sources close to Bona and China’s Film Bureau, Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, made a direct appeal to China’s National Film Administration, asking that it demand changes to her father’s portrayal.”
The report indicates that Bona may be working on last-minute edits to the film to still try to get it released.