Man Dies After Avatar Screening, And China Pulls Avatar From Theaters

Two pieces of sad news around James Cameron's Avatar. Reports claim a 42-year-man died of a stroke after watching Avatar. Meanwhile, find out why China is cancelling Avatar showings.

News.co.au reports that a 42-year-old Taiwanese man, with a history of high blood pressure started feeling ill during a screening of Avatar in 3D. He was taken to Nan Men General Hospital and arrived unconscious. Scans showed that his brain was haemorrhaging, and emergency room doctor Peng Chin-chih made this statement:

"It's likely that the over-excitement from watching the movie triggered his symptoms,'' the doctor said.

The man died 11 days later from the brain haemorrhage. We wonder, does this mean large IMAX 3D films that last longer than an hour will now need to display a safety warning? Many people who attend such screenings often complain of headaches and other pains, but this is the first fatality we've heard of. Our thoughts go out to the family involved with this tragedy.

In other Avatar news, yesterday it was reported that China was pulling Avatar from theaters to make way for a domestically produced biography of Confucius. China limits the amount of foreign films screened in the country, to just 20 a year. And films deemed unfriendly to the Communist Party are banned. According to DANWEI, they are only cancelling 2D screenings, and the film will continue to be available in 3D and IMAX.

The deputy director of the Administration's Film Bureau, Zhang Hongsen, said that SARFT, the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television an executive branch under the State Council of the People's Republic of China, was not involved in removing AVATAR from theaters, and in fact, the 2D ticket sales were dwindling, while 3D tickets continued to soar. And as for the rumor that Avatar was bumped for a Confucius movie:

"Perhaps it's because Confucius is premiering on that same day. But there's no 3D edition of Confucius, so the two of them shouldn't clash." Previously, a knowledgeable industry source said that Avatar was pulled for a very obvious reason: to yield to Confucius. However, because the authorities could not step forward, it was up to the Avatar people to take care of things. "Avatar had delayed its run to give space for Bodyguards & Assassins to increase its take, then Confucius was delayed for Avatar. So you could look at this either as 'yielding' or as a kind of 'return favor'."

And to push the point even further home China News Agency is reporting that even if SARFT asked for Avatar to be pulled, there's no proof, as all sources say the orders came from verbal notification. So make of it what you will.

[Picture via io9's Avatar 3D Sculpts]