Warner Bros blacks out "Dark Knight" from China

Thu Dec 25, 2008 9:42am EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Warner Bros studio said on Wednesday it has canceled plans to release its blockbuster Batman movie "The Dark Knight" in China, citing "cultural sensitivities" surrounding the film.

The studio, a unit of Time Warner Inc, did not specify what Chinese audiences or censors might find objectionable about the movie.

"Based on a number of pre-release conditions that are being attached to 'The Dark Knight,' as well as cultural sensitivities to some elements of the film, we have opted to forego a theatrical release of the film in China," Warner Bros said in a statement.

The film includes a sequence in which Batman, the movie's comic book superhero played by Christian Bale, penetrates a criminal mastermind's skyscraper redoubt in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong.

"The Dark Knight," which was released in July, is the top-grossing film of the year with more than $996 million in worldwide ticket sales, including over $7.5 million in Hong Kong, according to the website Box Office Mojo.

The film also has earned the late Australian actor Heath Ledger a Golden Globe nomination for his final role as Batman's maniacally evil foe, the Joker.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Steve Gorman)

<p>British actor Christian Bale signs autographs before a photocall for 'The Dark Knight' film in Barcelona, in this file photo from July 23, 2008. REUTERS/Albert Gea</p>