Chinese moviegoers seeking to re-experience the romance of blockbuster Titanic from 14 years ago through the latest 3D version have been complaining about excessive censoring of nude scenes.
The 3D version of James Cameron's epic returned to cinema screens in China Tuesday, but audiences looking forward to the scene of Jack drawing a nude portrait of Rose were disappointed to find it had been completely removed.
Xiao Fei, a resident of Nanchang, Jiangxi Province who booked tickets two days before the movie was released, expressed her disappointment about the cut after watching it Tuesday afternoon.
"I was a student in a primary school when I watched Titanic many years ago, but it was deeply ingrained in my memory, including the nude scene. It wasn't deleted 14 years ago, and I don't know why it was deleted this time," she told the Global Times Tuesday.
The epic was released to incredibly high acclaim in China, with its heart-rending storyline winning over young Chinese viewers.
The original Titanic stormed to 360 million yuan ($57 million) in Chinese box office takings in 1998 and remained the country's top earner for 10 years until 2009.
"I didn't wait so many years to see a three-dimensional iceberg," Xiao Fei said.
Insiders pointed out that the removal of the nude scene damaged the classic work, and also spoiled fans' memories.
Zhang Jiangnan, the director of Midnight Taxi, told the Global Times that Titanic was the first movie he went to watch with a girl.
"This move (to cut the nude scene) went against the trend of the times and indicated the censorship system has failed to comply with the marketization of the film industry," said Zhang." I think we should pay attention to this change since this trend may be applied to other films yet to be shown or affect new productions."
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Broadcast could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but some rumors circulated online that authorities decided to remove the scene out of concern that viewers may attempt to reach out and touch the screen during the scene and hit the heads of viewers sitting in front of them.
Despite the complaints from some audience members, Chinese fans were still largely enthusiastic about the release.
Since last week, cinemas in many cities have begun selling tickets for this movie and the IMAX 3D screenings are proving particularly popular.
"We can't disclose the box office takings now, but the number of people watching Titanic is apparently larger than that for all other films," director of the publicity department of Wanda Cinemas in Beijing, told the Global Times Tuesday.
According to sohu.com, the box office revenue of its debut show at midnight is estimated to reach 5 million yuan in China.