Avatar Trumps Confucius in China

Even an authoritarian government couldn't slow down Avatar's box office momentum this week. Chinese officials tried to pull Avatar from 2-D screens and make room for the domestic biopic Confucius, but James Cameron’s pet project is still selling more than twice as many tickets per day. Some believed the move also reeked of censorship as Avatar's anti-exploitation story and theme uncomfortably mirrored policies in China. “I thought it was a bad move and also a bit stupid,” said a media professor in Singapore, adding that the state-run studios should have released the film after hype for Avatar died down. In addition to overseeing film studios, the Chinese government keeps a close eye on foreign films that are screened in the country, allowing only 20 per year to be released. Chinese officials defended their initial plan to show Avatar exclusively on 3-D and Imax screens, calling the move “quite normal” given that Confucius, which stars Chow Yun-Fat, can only be shown in 2-D.