Box Office Report: 'Skyfall' Scores $5.1 Million Opening Day in China


Footage of a Chinese character dying, and references to prostitution and torture were edited out of the Chinese release of the 2012 James Bond film. One scene completely cut included a hitman (Ola Rapace) killing a Chinese security guard. In another, Bond (Daniel Craig) questions a woman (Berenice Marlohe) about her tattoo, which indicates she had been forced into prostitution as a child. The audio was kept in, but the subtitles instead read she was being extorted by the mob. When Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva tells Bond about being captured in Hong Kong and then tortured, the subtitles did not tell the whole tale.

The Sony and MGM tentpole has already earned $1.04 billion worldwide.

The James Bond blockbuster Skyfall is off to a strong start in China, opening to $5.1 million on Monday.

Sony insiders say not many films opening on a Monday do such big business. Skyfall opened 14 percent ahead of last summer's The Dark Knight Rises, which also opened on a Monday on its way to grossing  $50 million in China, and did almost three times the business that previous 007 film Quantum of Solace did on its first day in 2008.

The tentpole, with a current worldwide cume of $1.04 billion, opened on a record 8,079 screens.

"On its final stop on a remarkable journey, Skyfall's long-awaited China opening does not disappoint," an insider noted.

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Chinese audiences, however, are seeing a slightly different version of director Sam Mendes' film after censors demanded that several scenes be deleted or altered, including shots of a Chinese character being killed and dialogue referring to prostitution and politics.

The missing scene was set in Shanghai, when a French hitman (Ola Rapace) is shown shooting a Chinese security guard in the elevator lobby of a skyscraper before preparing for an assassination.

Later in the film, in a casino in Macau, Daniel Craig’s Bond questions the story’s femme fatale, Severine (Berenice Marlohe), about whether her tattoo is the result of her being forced into a local prostitution ring at an early age. While the lines remains intact on the soundtrack, the Chinese subtitles suggest the spy is asking her about being coerced into the mob instead.

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The film’s Chinese subtitles also fudged the exposition of the backstory of the film’s villain, Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem), who tells Bond how he was handed over to the Chinese authorities while working for the MI6 in Hong Kong. He adds that he suffered immense torture at the hands of his interrogators before attempting to kill himself.

It isn't uncommon for Hollywood films to be released in China with scenes authorities consider politically or culturally controversial edited out.