Sony Set to Lose Millions as Tarantino Refuses to Recut ‘Once Upon a Time’ for Chinese Market

© AP Photo / Jordan StraussBrad Pitt, from left, Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino and Margot Robbie attend the photo call for "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" at the Four Seasons Hotel on Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Brad Pitt, from left, Leonardo DiCaprio, Quentin Tarantino and Margot Robbie attend the photo call for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the Four Seasons Hotel on Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP) - Sputnik International
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Tarantino’s new blockbuster, which has already earned $344 million at the box office, was prematurely yanked from the usually lucrative Chinese market ahead of a planned October 25 release.

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino will not be recutting his film ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ for the Chinese market, an informed source has told The Hollywood Reporter.

The comedy-drama, starring a slew of A-list Hollywood stars including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino and Kurt Russell, and distributed by Sony Pictures, was “put on hold,” according to an exhibitor source, presumably after Shannon Lee, daughter of Bruce Lee, filed a complaint with China’s powerful National Film Administration over the movie’s portrayal of her father as an “arrogant punching bag.”

Lee was not the only one to criticize the film’s version of the martial arts legend. This summer, former NBA star and film actor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar joined multiple celebrities in criticizing Tarantino over his film's portrayal of Lee, calling it “sloppy” and “somewhat racist.”

Abdul-Jabbar, 72, said Lee had been a friend of his, and said that filmmakers “have a responsibility when playing with people’s perceptions of admired historic people to maintain a basic truth about the content of their character.”

Tarantino defended his version of Lee, however, saying the martial arts master really was “kind of an arrogant guy,” and that “The way he was talking, I didn’t just make a lot of that up. I heard him say things like that to that effect.”

The news sparked a debate online, with some users appearing to praise China’s decision, while others claimed this was ‘another example’ of Beijing clamping down on free expression.

 

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