Chinese moviegoers will soon be able to see “Django Unchained,” but it won’t be the same version that was mysteriously pulled from theaters two weeks ago.
Sony Pictures announced Friday that Quentin Tarantino’s freed-slave drama would be back in Chinese theaters on May 12. “There is tremendous excitement, anticipation and awareness for the film and we thank the local authorities for quickly resolving this issue,” the studio said in a statement.
Sony would not disclose how the film has been modified from the cut of the film that was pulled from Chinese theaters on April 11. But a person close to the film who was not authorized to speak publicly said that editors had removed some “Django Unchained” footage for the Chinese re-release.
The movie, which had been cleared by Chinese censors for theatrical exhibition in the world’s No. 2 movie market, was yanked from theaters without any explanation, some screenings stopping just a few minutes after the lights dimmed and the credits started to roll.
A Shanghai cinema company said that screenings of the film would be delayed indefinitely for "technical reasons." But many assumed China’s State Administration for Radio, Film and Television reconsidered its decision to allow the film to be shown in that version, which already had been altered for the Chinese market.
"The director had agreed to minor adjustments for different markets," Zhang Miao, Sony’s head of China operations, said at the time. "The violence in the film is a way to serve the main theme, and to tone it down a bit won't hurt the film's essence. For example, the blood can be darkened a little, and the spouts of blood can be shortened."
The State Administration for Radio, Film and Television did not issue any announcement regarding the suspension of "Django Unchained."
"Django Unchained" was the first of Tarantino's films to receive permission for screening on mainland China.