The Shanghai Film Festival has abruptly yanked its opening movie, the $80 million patriotic war drama “The Eight Hundred
,” on the eve of the fest’s kickoff, Variety
has confirmed. A restored 4K version of “Midnight Cowboy
” will play tomorrow night instead, the organizers announced Friday evening on social media.
The cancellation of the Saturday premiere was made for unspecified “technical reasons,” which is often a euphemism for censorship problems, although a source close to the project told Variety
that that is not the issue in this case and that the film had successfully passed the content censorship stage. “Technical reasons” were also cited in the withdrawal of Zhang Yimou’s “One Second
” from the Berlin Film Festival in February.
While Chinese authorities have withdrawn films from other film festivals – two were pulled from the Berlinale, including “One Second
” – it’s unusual for a Chinese-made film to be yanked from a Chinese festival.