Reportedly, part of the reason is to reduce competition for China's homegrown films, like the state-backed biopic of Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher, starring Hong Kong superstar Chow Yun-fat, which opens this Thursday. The Beijing Youth Daily on Tuesday quoted UME International Cineplex assistant manager Liu Hui confirming the pullout at theaters in the capital. She said it won't affect the cinema's revenues. "In UME, the 3D and Imax version make up 90 percent of our box-office income, so it won't affect the majority of viewers. With the pullout of the 2D version, movies like Confucius will gain some room for showing," she said. Next month is Lunar New Year, the nation's biggest holiday. With a week of vacation or more, many Chinese are expected to flock to the country's theaters. China boasts about a dozen IMAX screens, another 800 3D screens and an estimated 4,500 regular screens. It's unclear how many 2D screens Avatar was playing on.
Another thing I've noticed since this announcement is that IMDB seems to be inaccessible in China. I wonder if this is another prong of the attack against foreign films in China or just a coincidence. I'm uncertain exactly how long it has been inaccessible.