China’s regulator turns down local ‘Wall-E’ remake

SARFT finds helmer Xia didn't have rights to Disney story

BEIJING — China’s top biz watchdog, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television has nixed an application by helmer Xia Peng to shoot a local remake of Pixar’s animation blockbuster “Wall-E” because he didn’t have the legal rights.

The Chinese film biz is trying to stop unauthorized remakes of Hollywood movies as part of efforts to clean up its record on intellectual property rights and boost domestic creativity.

Local media reported that Xia had submitted a script to SARFT for approval called “Robot Wali,” describing it as a love story about two robots in space, with similar characters and plot to “Wall-E.”

Like all pic applications, it appeared on SARFT’s website and quickly caused a stir online, with many biz figures accusing the helmer of plagiarism while bemoaning the lack of fresh ideas in the Chinese biz.

SARFT stepped in to stop the unauthorized remake.

Although “Wall-E” was never screened in mainland theaters, the DVD was released in 2008 and the picture, which met with universal acclaim, is familiar to most Chinese filmgoers.

A spokesman for Disney, which owns the copyright of “Wall-E,” said it “values and protects its intellectual property vigorously and takes reports of suspected infringement very seriously.”