Disney not cowed down by China’s threats
HOLLYWOOD, Nov. 28.
Walt Disney Co., facing a warning by the Chinese Government over "Kundun,” a new Martin Scorsese film about the life of the Dalai Lama. has said it intends to release the film anyway.
We have an agreement to distribute Kundun’ domestically, and we intend to honour it,” said Mr. John Dreyer, a Disney spokesman, on Tuesday.
The brief statement came after government officials in Beijing made it clear to Disney that the entertainment giant’s ambitious business plans in China were at risk over the film about the Dalai Lama, the exiled religious leader of Tibet. China regards the Dalai Lama as a threat to its control over the Himalayan region.
Produced by Disney’s Touchstone Pictures and Scorsese’s Refuge Productions, “Kundun” is completing production in Morocco. Disney is expected to release it in the United States late next year.
Disney executives expressed qualified hope that the company’s talks with Chinese officials would proceed, despite objections to the film. ‘We will have discussions with them and hope to continue doing business with them, “ said one. Another top executive spoke more forcefully. We won’t be dissuaded.” he said.
The terse public comment by Disney was the first expression of support for the film following newspaper reports that Chinese officials were displeased about the project.
The warning by Chinese authorities against Disney cast a chill in Hollywood. It is unusual for a nation, to issue what was essentially a threat against an American entertainment company.
But beyond that, the dispute served to underline the growing issues faced by entertainment giants like Disney. which not only makes movies but has extensive business arrangements abroad and must cope with the political realities of numerous nations, sortie of them dictatorships.— New York Times