Censored Mission: Impossible III opens in China

The latest instalment of Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible movie franchise finally debuted in China, after being tied up by the country's film censors for weeks.

The latest instalment of Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible movie franchise finally has debuted in China, after being tied up by the country's film censors for weeks.

Chinese censors conducted a protracted review process for Mission: Impossible III, which was partially filmed in Shanghai. The result, screenedin Chinese theatres Thursday,was a cut of six minutes of footage, including two scenes from the action thriller's ending.

A scene in which Cruise's character Ethan Hunt distracts two Chinese henchmen, and then kills them, was one of those eliminated.

"It was truly insulting," a senior executive at the state-run distributor, China Film Group, told Reuters. The group holds partial responsibility for vetting foreign films for Chinese theatres (only a set number of foreign filmsis permitted to screen in China).

The censors also cut a scene in which Cruise's character stumbles into a room where elderly Chinese men are placidly playing mahjong while his kidnapped wife is being held next door.

The China Film Group official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the scene made it appear that "common Chinese people were … insensitive to a hostage situation."

The film, directed by sought-after director J.J. Abrams, premiered worldwide on May 5 and, to date, has earned more than $350 million US around the globe.

Some expect the film to do well in China — a massive market highly sought after by the U.S. film industry — because of the many scenes filmed in Shanghai. However, theatre tickets start at about 60 yuan (or $8.50) while a bootleg DVD copy of the movie, available for weeks, has been seen for sale for about $1.