'Hereafter' pulled, 'Rite' postponed

Distribs in Japan are pulling, postponing or changing pics deemed upsetting to a public traumatized by Friday’s devastating 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami, while TV channels are set to resume normal service this week.

Warner Japan is pulling Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter,” citing its disturbing images of the 2004 tsunami that inundated countries in the Pacific region. The film opened on Feb. 19 on 180 screens and was still in the box office top 10 last week after five weeks on release.

Warner is postponing the opening of helmer Mikael Hafstrom’s horror pic “The Rite,” starring Anthony Hopkins, which was skedded to bow Saturday.

“We have decided that the content of film is not appropriate given Japan’s current situation,” Warner explained in a statement. WB also said that gasoline shortages caused by the disaster could make it impossible to transport prints to theaters in time.

Distrib Shochiku has postponed the release of the Chinese earthquake disaster pic “Aftershock,” which was skedded to open nationwide on March 26, “in view of the devastation caused by the earthquake and out of consideration for the victims and their families.”

The company previously said it would unspool Xiaogang Fen’s pic, based on the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, as a fund-raiser for the victims of the devastating quake in Christchurch, New Zealand, on Feb. 23. Those plans are on hold now that disaster has struck closer to home.

Finally, Toei Animation has cut a tsunami scene from its new toon, “Pretty Cure All Stars DX3.” Based on a popular animated TV show for girls and the 10th in a series, “Pretty” is skedded to open Saturday.

Meanwhile, regular TV broadcasts are expected to resume this week, depending on circumstances.

Pubcaster NHK and the commercial networks have devoted nearly all their resources to coverage of the earthquake and tsunami since Friday. The only exception is TV Tokyo, the smallest of the five nets, which restarted some regular programming on Sunday.

Stations in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, the worst-hit areas, have not gone off the air since the disaster began.

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