World 'Lord of the Rings' Pulled From China's Movie Theaters, Replaced by Communist Party Propaganda
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The Lord of the Rings has been pulled from China's movie theaters and replaced with a series of pre–Cultural Revolution films, ending just two weeks of a rerelease period for Peter Jackson's epic trilogy.
Multiple Chinese news outlets reported this week that the Chinese Communist Party's National Film Administration suddenly withdrew the Hollywood movies, which were scheduled to return to theaters this month, just in time for a 20th anniversary. The film adaptions of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy book series are now set to be replaced with CCP propaganda films, to celebrate the party's 100th anniversary, between April 1 and December.
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According to several state-run Chinese outlets, the CCP's publicity department has requested mandatory film screenings at theaters, prompting Chinese film commentators in the U.S. to denounce the move.
At least eight CCP-approved films have been screened at Chinese theaters since April 1, just three days before Variety reported that The Fellowship of the Ring, the trilogy's first film, was scheduled to begin screening. The replacement of the Hollywood blockbusters means there will be huge financial losses for theaters as well.
Chinese portal Sohu reported Monday that six of the eight CCP propaganda films made very little money during the first week of screening, particularly in comparison with the wildly popular Lord of the Rings rerelease.
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"But China's movie market is deformed, and no matter how much money Hollywood blockbusters can make, they still have to make way for the political needs of the CCP," U.S.-based current affairs commentator Li Yanming told The Epoch Times Monday. "Over the years, Hollywood has voluntarily modified its films to meet the requirements of the CCP for the Chinese market, but its schedule and box office are still controlled by the political needs of the CCP. This is also a tragedy for Hollywood."
Nine of the 12 pre–Cultural Revolution films that are now set to replace The Lord of the Rings present stories about the CCP's early rise and establishment in Beijing and across China. Three of the movies are set during the Korean War, which the Chinese government officially refers to as the War to Resist U.S. Aggression and Aid Korea.
Newsweek reached out for comment to WingNut Films, the American-British-New Zealand film production company that released the Lord of the Rings series, but did not hear back before publication.
Last week, Theand several other outlets reported that a little-known Soviet version of the Tolkien books, Khraniteli, was released. The 1991 movie was shown on Leningrad Television about 10 years before the much higher-budget movies directed by Jackson came out.
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