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China govt denies banning Despicable Me 2

China govt denies banning Despicable Me 2

By Stephen Cremin

Mon, 05 August 2013, 16:45 PM (HKT)

Policy/Legal News

Reports that Universal Pictures Inc' animation Despicable Me 2 (2013) has been banned from Mainland cinemas are untrue.

Film Business Asia understands the film has yet to be submitted for censorship by Universal's local agent, Edko (Beijing) Films Ltd 安樂(北京)電影發行有限公司 and therefore could not have been banned for its content.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) 國家新聞出版廣電總局 is understood to be annoyed by reports of a ban in English-language trade media when it is in the process of becoming more transparent in its decision-making.

One high-ranking official said privately that the Film Bureau "was shot when it was already lying on the ground" (我們電影局真是躺著中槍), paraphrasing a popular internet saying about false accusations.

From SAPPRFT's perspective, the dispute is a commercial conflict between Universal and Edko over which titles are to be imported, with Edko deciding not to use a quota slot for Despicable Me 2.

Edko (Beijing)'s general manager Wayne JIANG 姜偉 met Film Bureau officials last week to explain how reports of a ban spread across English-language media. Edko is the local distributor of four Universal titles in China this year: Les Misérables (2012), Oblivion (2013), Furious 6 (2013) and the forthcoming 3-D reissue of Jurassic Park (1993).

Jiang told Film Business Asia that he is leaving Edko this month.

Edko's Maria Koo said that the company has made no comment about the film's release in China and that it is still working hard on the film. LeTV has announced that it will screen Despicable Me 2 on its VoD platforms in China this month, meaning that a theatrical release is now unlikely.

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