Cinemas in China lost their viewers when they were ordered to show Chinese Communist Party propaganda movies instead of Hollywood blockbusters such as "The Lord of the Rings." The change was implemented on April 1, during which the box office earned nothing for showing five pre-cultural revolution films, all released before 1965.
According to the Epoch Times, ticket-selling websites removed the showtimes of the six old movies following "very limited income" for showing CCP propaganda films. One of the many dismayed Chinese citizens took to social media site Weibo on April 6 to share, "I have waited for almost a month for the re-release of Peter Jackson's epic. I won't go to the cinema if there's no 'The Lord of the Rings.'"
Another Weibo user commented on his post, writing, "My happy April is gone. It made me even feel that I shouldn't go to the cinema in May." Chinese citizens are dismayed and expressed their disappointment over the Chinese government's decision to scrap Hollywood film showings at cinemas and replace it with CCP propaganda.
According to the report, up to 10 CPP propaganda movies have been ordered to be shown in cinemas beginning April up to December in line with the CCP's 100th founding anniversary this year. Cinemas have been ordered to show at least two CCP propaganda films five times a week.
Chinese citizens are dismayed that they could not enjoy the 20th anniversary re-release of "The Lord of the Rings," which 4K digitally restored version was scheduled to be shown in China on April 9, 16, and 23. Despite classic movies being released in China months later than in the United States and other parts of the world, box office ratings had been through the roof.
For "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, the epic had grossed over $25 million in China between 2002 and 2004. The order of the Chinese National Film Administration to show CCP propaganda in theaters will mean more financial losses for theaters across the country. As of April 1, eight CCP propaganda films have already been shown to very few audiences.
In October 2020, Variety reported that tech giant Tencent was gearing up for the release of "1921," a film about the "founding of the Chinese Communist Party intended as a tribute on the 100th anniversary of the occasion." It is set to be released on July 1 this year.
The major project began development three years ago and encountered major challenges when the Shanghai municipal propaganda bureau "asked [production] to gather 100 celebrities to appear in the 100th anniversary movie."
"China's movie market is deformed, and no matter how much money Hollywood blockbusters can make, they still have to make way for the political needs of the CCP," U.S.-based current affairs commentator Li Yanming said, as reported by Newsweek.
"Over the years, Hollywood has voluntarily modified its films to meet the requirements of the CCP for the Chinese market, but its schedule and box office are still controlled by the political needs of the CCP. This is also a tragedy for Hollywood."