July 20, 2006

Soldiers, seniors cut from Chinese “M:I-3″

By Jonathan Landreth

BEIJING (Hollywood Reporter) - A censored "Mission:
Impossible III" opened in China on Thursday, minus a scene in
which Chinese soldiers are distracted by baseballs and then
killed by Tom Cruise's character.

"It was truly insulting," said a senior executive at
state-run distributor China Film Group, which is partly
responsible for vetting all imported films.

Another cut demanded by China's secretive censors after a
protracted review process erased a scene showing elderly
Chinese playing mahjong next door to the kidnapped wife of
Cruise's Ethan Hunt character.

The Chinese official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said the scene made it appear that "common Chinese people were
... insensitive to a hostage situation."

In all, about six minutes were cut from the film. Domestic
press reports, which must themselves be cleared by government
censors, have focused on supposed cuts to scenes showing
laundry hanging from apartment windows and gun battles and car
chases through Shanghai streets -- images that reportedly had
offended censors' view of China's biggest city, where the last
third of the film is set.

However, in the "M:I-3" released in China, hanging laundry,
gun battles and car chases in Shanghai all remained largely
intact, though a scene of a car flipping over after Hunt shoots
out its tires was cut.

"M:I-3" premiered outside China on May 5 and has earned
about $361 million worldwide to date. An afternoon screening on
opening day was half full at a modern downtown Beijing cinema,
where tickets started at 60 yuan ($7.50), considerably more
than bootleg DVD versions.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter