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China release looks ‘Impossible’

Country delays 'Mission' bow

SHANGHAI — “Mission: Impossible III” looks unlikely to make it to Chinese screens soon because the pic “tarnishes the image of Shanghai,” local media in China reported.

It’s a mystery to many in the biz why it should be delayed given that the script was approved, every step of the shoot was carried in the Chinese media, and Tom Cruise could not move a muscle without getting a front-page headline in the Shanghai papers.

Industry sources said the movie looked to be delayed until the end of a blackout period for foreign movies from June 10-July 20, which coincides with celebrations to mark the 85th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.

By that stage, the market will be flooded with good-quality pirate copies, badly hitting potential B.O. To date, it’s been impossible to find anything other than poor-quality copies, a sign that pirates are failing to find decent prints to rip off.

Shanghai’s Xinmin Evening News said city authorities may have been annoyed by the sight of rags and underwear drying outdoors in side streets rather than of the gleaming skyscrapers of the city skyline.

Official hackles may also have been raised by the plot implying a major crime could take place in China without the police knowing about it.

“MI3” had already been postponed until June, largely so that it would not clash with “The Da Vinci Code,” which bows with bells and whistles Friday at a day-and-date launch in Beijing.

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