First The NBA, Now Tarantino: China Cancels The Release Of ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’

once upon a time in hollywood

Columbia Pictures

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: it was quite the rocky week for relations between the United States of America and the People’s Republic of China.

In case you’ve been living under a social media-less rock, the long and short of it is that China — one of the NBA’s biggest markets — got mad at the league for comments made by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who took to Twitter to stand in solidarity with the people of Hong Kong.

Now, I’m very much not into politics, but as far as I can tell based on watching 60 Minutes, the people of Hong Kong are protesting because they want to be free from China’s government. As an American, that sounds fine and dandy to me. More power to ’em.

But then, LeBron — who, while an excellent human being by all accounts, often thinks he’s smarter than he actually is — opened his mouth about the issue and turned the whole thing into a shit storm.

Point being, not a great week for a relationship that’s already rocky for trade reasons that are above my head (remember, I’m a blogger and meme maker, not a journalist).

Not to be satisfied with only causing chaos in the NBA, China has now canceled another piece of American entertainment: the release of Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.

Originally scheduled to be released on October 25, Chinese regulators in Beijing have abruptly changed courses and put an “indefinite” hold on the film’s release, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The story swirling through the executive ranks of China’s film industry Friday was that the decision stemmed from Tarantino’s somewhat controversial portrayal of martial arts hero Bruce Lee, the only character of Chinese descent in the movie. Friends and family of the late Lee have blasted the director for the depiction, saying the real-life action star didn’t behave as he’s portrayed in the film.

According to sources close to Bona and China’s Film Bureau, Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, made a direct appeal to China’s National Film Administration, asking that it demand changes to her father’s portrayal. [The Hollywood Reporter]

With China blocking the release of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, the film will likely not cross the $400 million mark, as it currently sits at $336 million at the global box office.


Eric is a New York City-based writer who still isn’t quite sure how he’s allowed to have this much fun for a living and will tell anyone who listens that Gotham City is canonically in New Jersey. Contact him on Twitter @eric_ital or via email