According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Bruce Lee’s daughter supposedly made an appeal to China’s National Film Administration for them to change the depiction of Bruce Lee in the film. Currently, the Bona Film Group is working with Sony Pictures to cut a new version of the film so it can be distributed through China.
The outlet reported that despite Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’s success in North America, its plan to rock Chinese box offices was thwarted following Shannon Lee’s appeal to the aforementioned National Film Administration to see that Bruce’s depiction was changed.
In the movie, Bruce Lee’s character reportedly was portrayed as an arrogant, violent, buffoon. The critically adored film, starring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, was slated for release in Chinese theaters on the 25th of October, but regulators changed their minds at the last minute.
According to sources close to the Chinese dilemma, the movie’s release has been put on hold for now, until the studios come up with a new version that passes their regulations. The last-minute change to the movie presents a financial problem to the film, which is currently sitting at $366 million in revenue.
View this post on Instagram
China has blocked the theatrical release of #OnceUponATimeInHollywood just one week before its debut, which means that the film may not get to $400 million worldwide. Is the movie's violence or Bruce Lee scene the reason? Details at the link in bio. –– #quentintarantino #bradpitt #leonardodicaprio #tarantino
Back in January, The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Bona took a large chunk of equity in the movie which allowed Quentin and Sony Pictures to distribute the film in China. The COO and CEO of Bona, Jeffrey Chan and Yu Dong, were credited as executive producers.
At the moment, the Chinese regulators haven’t explained the reason for the switch, and neither Bona nor Sony could be reached by THR reporters. As was noted above, rumors have been circulating that the cancelation of the film was for the portrayal of Bruce Lee in the film.
Personal friends, as well as family members of the legendary martial artist and actor, were furious with the depiction of the action star, whereas Quentin Tarantino was defiant in response. Sources close to Bona and China’s film bureau explained that Shannon Lee played a role in the Chinese National Film Administration’s change of heart.
Previously, Tarantino was supposed to have a film premiere in China back in 2012 with Django Unchained, however, at the last minute, the film was pulled from the screens nationwide on its opening night.