Chinese exhibs yank U.S. pix to protest bombing

'Ryan,' 'War,' 'Enemy,' 'Mulan' openings halted

BEIJING — U.S. pics have been yanked from local theaters in the wake of the anti-American flare-up in China,

“Saving Private Ryan,” “In Love and War,” “Mulan” and “Enemy of the State,” which was skedded to open in Guangzhou last weekend, were targeted.

In Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, state-owned film distributors decided to remove U.S.-made films during last week’s protest over the NATO bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.

Distrib lockout

Ma Shijun, an official of the China Film Distribution and Broadcasting Assn., issued a letter encouraging other distributors to do the same.

A number of patriotic Chinese ones, including a film depicting fighting against U.S. forces during the Korean War, have been programmed in place of the American pics.

Some Beijing movie theaters have even filled their slates with Yugoslav-made films. TV stations in Shanghai and Beijing also followed the exhibs’ lead by dropping any U.S. films in their skeds and reverting to patriotic fare.

It is uncertain when U.S. films will be shown again, but one Chinese film distributor told Daily Variety that the yanked films will be back in the theaters “as soon as the Chinese people are satisfied with the explanation and apology of NATO and the U.S.”