It seems that havingChinese elements in a filmdoes not necessarily result inan easy green light from the Chinese censors. Universal Pictures' summer blockbuster The Mummy: The Tomb Of The Dragon Emperor may be yet another film to face censor troubles in China.
The film was originally slated to be released in China on July 29 as a day-and-date release with the US. But this may not happen now as the film has not passed the censorship, local cinemas confirmed.
The film has about 80% of its scenes shot in China andwas approved as a full co-productionbetween China's Shanghai Film Group and Universal Pictures.
However, two major cinema circuits - Beijing New Film Association and Shanghai United Cinema confirmed that the film would not be opening July 29, the date that Universal's mainland distributor Edko Films was hoping for.
'As far as I know, the film has not passed the censorship yet and we have not received the film copies,' said Gao Jun, deputy general manager of New Film Association.
Starring Brendan Fraser, Michelle Yeoh and Jet Li, the third movie of The Mummy franchise is about an ancient Chinese emperor (played by Li) resurrected from the tomb and leading his troupe of terracotta warriors to battle with Fraser's character.
Chinese elements, including emperors and ghosts, and the timing of the release close to the Beijing Olympics are believed to have put thelocal censors on high alert. It is understood that theyhave demanded some edits to the film.
A staff member in the Film Bureau told ScreenDaily.com that the film is being reviewed but refused to comment on which parts are troublesome.
Edko Films is understood to be still trying to schedule the film during the summer holiday season in China.
Industry analysts said the box office performance of John Woo's Red Cliff might have an intriguing influence on the release date of The Mummy 3 in China. 'If Red Cliff sales go up, The Mummy might be greenlit sooner,' one analyst said.
Hollywood films slated for August also include Speed Racer (scheduled for Aug 10) and The Hulk (scheduled for Aug 20). Both films have already passed censorship.