Unchained, But Unrewarded: 'Django' Bombs in China

'Django Unchained'

"Kill white people and get paid for it? What's not to like?"

Jamie Foxx as Django


After being abruptly pulled from Chinese cinemas and spending a month in regulatory limbo, the film has grossed just $2.5 million in the country since it was re-released May 12.

After its long rocky ride to Chinese cinemas, Django Unchained's official box-office performance in the country has finally been revealed -- and the numbers are nothing to write home about: the film has grossed just $2.5 million since it was re-released on May 12, according to Sony. 

Hopes were high for Django, the first Quentin Tarantino title ever allowed into China. The movie was supposed to open April 11 but was ordered pulled from theaters only minutes into its release.

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No official reason was given for the abrupt about-face, but there’s been speculation that a Chinese official found the slave-era Western too violent, even though censors had previously approved the film to play after Sony cut about a minute from the movie and muted the color of some bloody scenes.

Additional cuts were made to remove more of the film’s nudity and violence in order to secure a new release date, but the new date placed Django directly in the path of Iron Man 3 -- which has made north of $127 million -- and a spate of other strong contenders: Tom Cruise's Oblivion, The Croods ($63.6 million in China and counting) and domestic hits So Young and American Dreams in China

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Piracy was another factor. After Django first was pulled, scores of Chinese social-media users vowed to stream the movie illegally online. And after the film's eventual re-release, others said they wouldn't waste their money on the more heavily doctored version.

Even without China, Django is Tarantino’s most successful film to date, grossing $163 million domestically and $424 million worldwide.