Production and sales company Arclight Films’ 12th century war romance Outcast, featuring Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen and directed by Nick Powell, has been pulled from a wide release in China just hours before it was due to start screening.
Australian-U.S. firm Arclight Films was one of the main companies involved in the project, and a representative said on Friday they were puzzled as to why distributor Yunnan Film Group (YFG) called off the day-and-date release last-minute.
“We have no idea why it was pulled. We were advised in the middle of the night and locked down to an Asian day-and-date. All our strategies are up in the air, and we are trying to get to the bottom of this,” said producer Mike Gabrawy, who was in Beijing for the opening.
The movie was poised for a wide release in China, but YFG told Arclight that it was not going ahead. It wasn’t immediately clear if the movie would be released in China down the line.
Based on a screenplay by James Dormer (who penned episodes of British TV series Spooks and Strike Back), Outcast revolves around two jaded crusaders who wander off towards the East, finally arriving in western China, where they become entangled in romance and antagonism with local royalty.
The movie includes violent scenes, which is potentially one reason it was stopped, although full script approval is required in China ahead of releases.
“We don’t know if it’s a censorship issue. This is the single most important territory for this, and we are trying to get to the bottom of this,” Gabrawy said.
The film was made in English but qualified as an official co-production under the guidelines stipulated by China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, with Yunnan Film Group providing more than half of the undisclosed budget.