The girl on hold ... China delays release of Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Jennifer Lawrence Hunger Games

Third film in the blockbuster franchise, which stars Jennifer Lawrence as teenage rebel Katniss Everdeen, is being delayed reportedly because international titles are outperforming domestic films at China’s box office

The Chinese release for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 has been pushed back to 2015 in what experts believe could be a bid by authorities to give local films a better chance at the box office.

The latest instalment in the blockbuster Hunger Games saga was due to hit cinemas in the world’s most populous nation, which boasts the globe’s second-largest film market, on 21 November. But it will not now arrive until an unspecified date in January 2015.

It is not thought the delay stems from any concern over the storyline for Francis Lawrence’s dystopian-themed science fiction sequel, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth in the tale of a rebellion against authoritarian rulers. China routinely keeps a tight reign on Hollywood productions, with just 34 internationally produced movies given permission to screen in cinemas each year as part of a strict quota system. Mockingjay Part 1 may simply be suffering due to the huge success earlier this year of the latest Transformers movie, which made a colossal $301m in China.

Transformers: Age of Extinction took more than expected this year, which means the box office is higher for foreign than domestic movies, so The Hunger Games has been pushed back to January,” a source told the Hollywood Reporter.

In 2011 China delayed the local release dates for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon to give propaganda epic Beginning of the Great Revival a clear run at the box office, while James Bond film Skyfall was similarly pushed back in 2012.

Upcoming domestic films that could rebalance 2014’s box office in favour of local studios include John Woo romantic epic The Crossing and two 3D efforts, Tsui Hark’s The Taking of Tiger Mountain and Jiang Wen’s Gone with the Bullets. The latter film is a sequel to the 2010 box office smash Let the Bullets Fly, and is due to open in early December.

Powered by article was written by Ben Child, for on Wednesday 19th November 2014 08.43 Europe/ © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010