The Chinese film Painted Skin has been a hit at the box office, but moviegoers have had little else to choose from. (File Photo/CFP)
China's State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television — the country's watchdog of popular culture — has made July the "month of protecting domestic films," arranging for Chinese movies to screen in July and for Hollywood blockbusters like the new Batman movie to screen in August, reports the Nanjing-based Yangtse Evening Post.
Chinese moviegoers will thus not be able to get their fix of Hollywood summer hits until next month. Netizens criticized a rumored film program that would screen just one Hollywood film — the highly anticipated The Dark Knight Rises — on Aug. 30. The release date of the final installment in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, the last day of summer vacation, seems to suggest a trick by the administration to extend the protection period.
Without foreign competitors, domestic films are able to perform well in the box office. Action-fantasy flick Painted Skin: The Resurrection, has in just two weeks raked in 623 million yuan (US$98 million). The other two popular films — Caught in the Web and The Four — have exceeded 80 million (US$16 million).
Theater operator Golden Harvest Cinemas said that no major foreign films are to be screened before July 27, but it added that there has not been any news about an extension of the "protection" period. The screening dates of major Hollywood films including Prometheus, The Bourne Legacy, and Batman have been delayed, and Twilight: Breaking Dawn seems to have been cancelled altogether, according to the newspaper.