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April 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Marking the latest dispute between Beijing and Hollywood, 20th Century Fox is refusing to accept about $23 million that China claims is its share of the box-office receipts for Life of Pi, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Monday), citing studio executives. The dispute, the newspaper said, involves a new VAT charge that China has imposed on numerous items, but which, in the case of movie tickets, is being deducted entirely from foreign producers’ share of receipts. The studios complain that in other countries, VAT charges come “off the top” of gross receipts. In the case of Fox, the studio has decided that it will not accept what it regards as an underpayment until the matter is resolved. Although China Film Group, the state-run distributor of movies in China, maintains that it is unaware of any dispute regarding the matter (“There is no controversy,” a spokesman told the Journal), MPAA chief Chris Dodd told the newspaper, “I’m well aware of the issue. … We’re working on it and the studios are [too].” In a related matter, Sony’s Columbia Pictures said over the weekend that Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which Chinese authorities pulled from theaters on the day it was released, has been given the go-ahead for a second release on May 12. After the film was yanked, some speculated that Tarantino had not removed scenes that Chinese censors had objected to. The studio declined to say which scenes, if any, had been removed to satisfy the censors, but merely thanked the authorities “for quickly resolving this issue.”