Leonardo DiCaprio (L) and Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Django Unchained - Quentin Tarantino's violent slave-revenge drama - has been pulled from Chinese cinemas on its opening day due to an unspecified technical problem.
The rare suspension order by importer China Film Group Corporation was confirmed by employees throughout China, and has led to speculation that the Hollywood film could have gone against the Chinese censors rules, despite weeks of promotion in the country.
Some violent scenes were cut according to reports and had already been cleared by China's rigorous censors, who generally remove violence, sex and politically edgy content.
With such an exacting system, suspension on a film's premiere date is unusual, notes Sky News.
Tian Zaixing, general manager of the Beichen Fortune cinema Center in the southern city of Kunming, said he could not recall any other imported film being halted on the opening day.
"We were excited about the film," he said. "We had had high expectations for this film's box office."
Tian said he had hoped the movie would bring about one-tenth of the monthly box office.
"This means we might not be able to meet our box office goal for the year."
The cited technical reason might only be a ruse, said Tian, who was unable to provide an alternative explanation.
The film's stars are well-known to the Chinese audience: Leonardo DiCaprio as a plantation owner and Jamie Foxx as a freed slave who trains to become a bounty hunter and demands his wife's freedom.
China has risen to the second-biggest movie market with sales of £1.7bn last year, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.