China is on its way to becoming the biggest movie market in the world, with studios vying for dominance there by specifically tailoring movies to fit the censorship rules of the country.
While movies like 'Avengers: Endgame' and 'The Great Wall' seem like a natural fit, anything outside of it often struggles to break through, and the movies of Quentin Tarantino are no exception. This week, China took the not-unusual step of blocking the release of his latest movie, 'Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood', unless he removed a specific scene from the movie.
The scene in question is the now-controversial exchange between Bruce Lee and Cliff Booth, played by Mike Moh and Brad Pitt respectively. The scene's already been the subject of some scrutiny, particularly by Lee's real-life daughter, Shannon Lee.
In fact, THR reported that Lee's daughter made a direct appeal to the Chinese regulators to have Tarantino cut the scene, were it to be released there. Tarantino, according to THR's reporting, has refused to cut the scene and, as of now, the movie will not be screened in China.
It's not the first time movies have been specifically edited to appease Chinese regulators, either. It was revealed last year that 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was edited to specifically remove any mention of Freddie Mercury's sexual orientation, as China frowns on gay leads in their movies. Not only that, 'South Park' is now banned entirely in the country due to an episode which made fun of major studios trying to break into the Chinese market.
So far, Tarantino and Sony Pictures have made no official comment on the Chinese release.