China Wants a Piece of Your Mummy, Rob Cohen

A week or so ago I was reading an article about how the Chinese are practically apoplectic about the success of “Kung Fu Panda”. The gist of the article was that there are two trains of thought to the success of “Panda”: the first group didn’t want foreigners cashing in on their national icon, the panda; while the second group was beside themselves that they didn’t do it sooner, which they would have if not for Government censorship that wouldn’t allow them to do something as benign as make an animated kung fu movie about a fat panda.

Then there’s this news that Rob Cohen’s “The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” is behind halted from showing in China until changes are made. What are those changes the great and all-knowing Red Commies want changed? Um, your guess is probably as good as anyone’s, as the Chinese aren’t exactly known for offering up details when it comes to why they ban a particular movie. That’s just how they roll over there.

Variety breaks down the hullabaloo which, if it goes into affect, could cost Universal Pictures a mighty big piece of the Asian box office pie:

China’s censors want certain changes in the cut of Universal’s “The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” before they give it the greelight for release in that country.

The State Administration for Radio, Film and Television told Daily Variety that the mainland release of the pic is pending. No further details were given.

The org’s statements are unusual given that part of the pic was filmed in China.

Bill Kong, whose Edko Film is Universal’s distributor in Hong Kong and China, acknowledged the issues.

“It is too early for me to comment on this until the situation becomes clearer,” he said.

Kong, who is Asia’s leading producer and has political and industry connections in China, had previously submitted script drafts to China Film Co-production Corp.

In order to hammer out the co-production between Universal and the Chinese authorities, the filmmakers heeded the CFCC’s suggestions and adapted the screenplay to make it less political and more focused on fantasy than real history.

Leave it to the Red Chinese to make America look good. Hollywood producers, actors, and directors constantly bitch about being “censored” in America. They don’t know what censorship is until they try to show a movie in China. Suckers!

“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” stars Brendan Fraser, Maria Bello, Jet Li, and Michelle Yeoh. Rob Cohen directs the film, which is scheduled for an August 1 debut everywhere. Well, except in China, probably.

Update: 7/16/08

Cohen et al calls “shenanigans” on this news of trouble with China. Read all about it here.

Dragon Emperor