Huayi Brothers’ Stock Drops After ‘The Eight Hundred’ Is Abruptly Postponed

Film potentially ran afoul of China’s leadership

Shares of Huayi Brothers’ stock dropped 8% on Wednesday after the Chinese movie studio had to indefinitely postpone “The Eight Hundred” that potentially ran into censorship issues with the country’s ruling Communist leadership.

The movie, which highlights Chinese resistance to Imperial Japan’s 1937 invasion, was set to hit theaters nationwide on July 5. But that opening was abruptly canceled, with the movie’s official Weibo account — China’s version of Twitter — failing to provide a reason for its sudden postponement or share a new release date, according to Bloomberg. The cancellation comes soon after the movie was pulled, at the last moment, from making its premiere at the 22nd Shanghai International Film Festival on June 15.

Huayi Brothers, one of the country’s top film producers, closed the day trading at about 5 Chinese yuan per share, or the equivalent of about 75 cents. The company trades on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. Altogether, Huayi Brothers has dropped more than 10% this week and closed Wednesday at its lowest point since May 20.

“The Eight Hundred” was skewered earlier this month by a non-government group that accused the film of being overly sympathetic to the Republic of China, which was led by Chiang Kai-shek, according to The New York Times. Chiang and his forces ultimately fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war with Mao Zedong’s Communist Party. A report from the non-government group was posted to WeChat, another social media site, criticizing the movie’s use of the Republic of China’s flag, among other complaints.

The film’s sudden postponement comes during what the Times calls a “broadening political crackdown on cultural works that are not sufficiently in tune” with President Xi Jinping.

“The Eight Hundred” portrays the four-day defense of a warehouse by 400 Chinese soldiers — although their commander inflated the battalion’s size to 800 to make it appear more formidable — against Japanese invaders, buying enough time for forces stationed in Sihang to escape unharmed.

You can check out the film’s trailer below: