Censors greenlight pic, but release date still uncertain

The “will they, won’t they” saga surrounding the mainland Chinese release of “Mission: Impossible III” continues.

China’s censors have reportedly greenlit pic’s release but have not set a date.

“It’s passed censorship,” Yuan Wenqiang, VP at stateowned China Film Group, one of the film’s distributors in China, told the Associated Press, adding he didn’t know what scenes, if any, censors deleted.

A spokesman for “MI3’s” international distributor, UIP, was reported as saying it was unlikely the film would be shown in June because dubbing would take time.

This is no surprise. The movie always looked likely to be delayed until the end of a blackout period for foreign movies from June 10 to July 20, which coincides with celebrations for the 85th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.

Pic had already been postponed until June so that it would not clash with “The Da Vinci Code,” which bowed last week with a day-and-date launch in Beijing.

There have been numerous reports that “MI3″ wouldn’t be shown in China because the pic “tarnishes the image of Shanghai” and local media have had great fun working out precisely what it was that annoyed city authorities — the sight of rags and underwear drying outdoors in side streets? A car chase? The implication that a major crime could take place in China without the Chinese police knowing about it?

Whatever the reason, the delay gives pirates more time to come up with quality counterfeits that could poison “MI3’s” B.O. in mainland China.

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