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HONG KONG — A month after being abruptly yanked from Chinese cinemas due to what officials described as “technical reasons,” Django Unchained made a low-profile return to the country’s cineplexes on Sunday, its takings of about $601,800 (3.7 million yuan) ranking it just fifth in the daily standings.
According to figures released on Monday by the Dianyingfiaofang (“Film Box Office”) microblog, Django Unchained‘s Sunday numbers lagged a long distance behind Iron Man 3 ($5.04 million/31 million yuan), So Young ($3.17 million/19.5 million yuan), Oblivion ($2.68 million/16.5 million yuan) and The Croods ($2.2 million/13.5 million yuan).
Django‘s shortfall could be accredited to the scale of its release, with the film taking only 10.3 percent of the 68,000 screenings across the country on Sunday. The film was slated to take up about 17 percent of shows in China for its original release on April 11 before the country’s film regulators intervened.
More importantly, bloggers reported that the unexplained shelving of the release and the subsequent silence about a rerelease has led many viewers to watch the film on illegal downloads and pirated discs. They also lambasted the authorities, saying Django had been “castrated” by removing the film from screens.
According to a report published on the online portal of state-backed Xinhua News Agency, the new version released on Sunday is shorter than the original by three minutes. The deleted scenes include Django (Jamie Foxx) annihilating a racist plantation owner’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) clan in a massive shooting spree; King Schultz’s (Christoph Waltz) flashback about a man mauled by dogs; and scenes featuring Django and his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), being tortured while in the nude.
Django‘s disappointing returns on Sunday were hardly a surprise, what with the film forced to open on Mother’s Day — explaining the stamina of The Croods — and also facing fierce competition from two Hollywood blockbusters and a much-hyped local rite-of-passage drama.
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