It looks like Django Unchained will have some company in the Chinese cinema’s discard pile, because DreamWorks’ The Croods was pulled from theaters in China two weeks before its run would end. Don’t worry; it wasn’t because Chinese moviegoers found the movie too violent or sexual, at least one hopes no one found it to be. This time around, the reason the animated blockbuster was pulled has to do with the local competition and their cry for fairness.
Initially, when The Croods first opened in China, its run would start on April 20 and end May 21. However, the film performed greater than anticipated and was extended to June 24. The move to milk the animated feature at the Chinese box-office ignited the wrath of domestic filmmakers. The original plan was, after The Croods ends its run in May, China would showcase its own animated movies on June 1, also known as China’s Children’s Day.
When the Hollywood CGI film was granted an extension, Chinese filmmakers rallied together to form what is known as “the protection of domestic product month.” Their intent was to ensure that Chinese cinemas would not be saturated with foreign product, allowing their own work would not be thrown under the bus by major Hollywood competition. This event mirrors last year’s “protection month,” which took place in July 2012 and ensured the release of The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man were pushed to August for the same reasons. History has a way of repeating itself.