DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg was in Chengdu, China this week for the Fortune Global Forum talking about how much Chinese audiences love animation. The Croods‘ box office is now the country’s top “animated movie of all time as an original film,” as Katzenberg told CNBC. At the time of the interview, he thought The Croods was still in theaters. But local media reports now say the picture has been pulled from Chinese movie houses two weeks ahead of its scheduled stop date. Pic was expected to run until June 24, but theater operators are said to have ceased showing it last night for “contract reasons”. This news comes just as Warner Bros’ big summer tentpole Man Of Steel was given a China release date of June 20. China.org.cn, citing a report from Sohu.com, says The Croods‘ “extended screening period” might be the reason behind the suspension. Sources told the website that some domestic animation producers had complained to watchdog SARFT about an overlong promotion of The Croods which opened April 20. The film has taken in $62.37M through June 2, according to Ent Group figures. The Croods move is another sign of the unshakeable grip that the Chinese government has on the film business, and the extent to which Hollywood hands can be tied by such a heavily regulated system. Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained was yanked from theaters in April within minutes of its bow. It was then re-released with cuts a month later. In the CNBC interview, which was apparently recorded prior to the reported Croods suspension, Katzenberg noted the key thing for Hollywood to understand about China is that it’s “a unique market and you have to play by their rules.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.