Tim Burton’s ‘Peculiar Children’ Makes Cut for China Market

One scene was considered too intense for China’s all-G audience.

Director Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was a bit too peculiar for Chinese censors; peculiarly violent, that is.

An “eyeball feast” enjoyed by some of the monster cast was deemed unsuitable for local audiences and had to be removed in order to gain release here, state-run media reported Thursday. The film opens Friday, more than two months after it first premiered in the United States.

Neither Burton nor cast members attended the China premiere in Beijing, although the director promoted the film in China in November.

Peculiar Children is only Burton’s second-ever release in China, and his first since 2010’s Alice in Wonderland. The film is one of at least six Hollywood films to gain release in China in excess of the country’s current annual 34-movie quota, on the basis of which foreign films may be imported under a revenue sharing agreement.

Unlike most major cinema markets, China does not have a film rating system, and therefore many films must be edited to exclude explicit depictions of sex, violence, supernatural, and political themes. Parents and industry players were hoping that China’s new film law would contain a framework for such a system, but the law, announced November 8, does not. The American rating system was established by the Motion Picture Association of America and is enforced by cinema owners, rather than any regulatory or government body.

Burton’s film, looking to add to its over US$250 million worldwide gross, is based on a 2011 novel by author Ransom Riggs.