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China in no 'Rush' for Chan film

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BEIJING -- Jackie Chan's "Rush Hour 3," in which the Hong Kong superstar gets mixed up with a Chinese gang in France, will not be allowed to screen in China, an import official said Thursday, citing an "overabundance" of imported films this year.

"We've talked to the Film Bureau, and there's a feeling that while this is a good film, there already are enough imported films coming," said Xiao Ping, a director of international relations at the China Film Import and Export Co., the country's sole licensed importer and a part of the state-run China Film Group.

"This one would not be that popular, anyway," Xiao added.

Produced by Jonathan Glickman, son of MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman, the "Rush Hour" franchise has done "very well" at the boxoffice in a country where ticket sales are eroded by the ready availability of cheap pirated DVDs, an MPA spokesperson said.

Chinese boxoffice figures for the first two "Rush Hour" films were not available.

China Film Group works closely with censors at the Film Bureau of the State Administration of Radio Film and Television in determining the 20 imported films allowed to screen here theatrically each year. Most of the titles chosen to fill the 20-film quota are middle-of-the-road blockbusters with no content that might be perceived as offensive to China's censors.

Asked if the Film Bureau had a problem with the content of "Rush Hour 3," Xiao said, "I'm not too clear about that."

And what does the fact that the biggest film star in Chinese cinema cannot get his latest Hollywood film into China say about the state of relations between Beijing and Tinseltown?

An MPA spokesman replied: "China Film Group dictates what films are and are not released in China, based on a number of factors, all of which add up to severely restricted market access."

Bill Kong -- president of Hong Kong-based EDKO films, which had hoped to distribute the Brett Ratner-directed, New Line Cinema picture in China -- on Thursday said that he has not yet been told by CFG that the movie had been rejected and that he still hoped to distribute it in China.

New Line Cinema declined comment.

Saul Symonds in Hong Kong contributed to this report.