China pulls The Da Vinci Code from theatres
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China pulls The Da Vinci Code from theatres

The withdrawal was apparently made to make room for copies of the film in other markets.

india Updated: Jun 08, 2006 19:39 IST

China has ordered the The Da Vinci Code, the controversial religious thriller that has smashed box-office records worldwide, pulled from its theaters, a movie industry executive said on Thursday.

The withdrawal was apparently made to make room for copies of the film in other markets, said Cyrus Man, a marketing executive with Edko Films Company in Hong Kong, said.

"They are transferring some films from the China market to other territories (in Asia)," Man said. "It is mainly a business decision."

Chinese authorities at the State Administration of Radio, Film and

Television, which regulates movie distribution in China, were not immediately available for comment.

At movie theatres in the cities of Nanjing, Shenyang and Shanghai telephone hotlines explained that "The Da Vinci Code" would stop showing from midnight on June 9th.

UME Shanghai cinema's said the film was no longer "permitted to be shown."

Based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown about a conspiracy by the Catholic Church to hide the supposed marriage of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene, the film has sparked accusations of blasphemy from religious groups around the world.

The film has been banned in several countries, including Belarus, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and five of India's 25 states, with many other countries considering pulling the plug.

Despite opposition from the Chinese Catholic Church, China's censors, who regularly ban Western films that do not conform to the Communist Party's ideals, allowed the film to be released in more than 30 cinemas after its Beijing premiere on May 17.

The state-run church urged all its followers to boycott the film, accusing it of violating religious ethics.

"The movie has many details that go against the Catholic teachings or are even insulting," state media quoted Liu Bainian, vice president of the China Catholic Patriotic Association, as saying.

Starring Tom Hanks, director Ron Howard's film version of the book generated 231.8 million dollars worldwide in its opening days, the second-biggest film debut in history.

First Published: Jun 08, 2006 19:39 IST