Johnny DeppBecause of the dominance of the state-run China Film Group (CFC), foreign films have very limited access to Chinese movie audiences. CFC, apparently the only company that distributes films in 35mm in the country, imports only 20 foreign films every year, and all profits must be shared with the company. Because of CFC's power, any film they reject loses potentially millions upon millions of viewers.

Warner Brothers and Tim Burton last week were reminded CFC's power when Burton's new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was rejected as "not commercially viable." (Huh? Did they not notice that Johnny Depp is in it?) As a result, it will appear in only one theater is all of China - and in IMAX. While the film will probably do big business once it's released on DVD in the country (bootlegs are surely already easily available), significant potential profits have been eliminated by CFC's decision.