"Despicable Me 2" has been denied a theatrical release in China, TheWrap has learned.
It is not clear why the country rejected the film and whether it had to do with censorship issues, but the Universal film — a juggernaut at the global box office — will not get a chance to crack the second largest film market in the world, according to a Chinese film executive.
The rejection potentially denies the film tens of millions of dollars of box-office revenue.
Universal declined to comment.
The decision continues what is shaping up to be a summer of frustration for Hollywood when it comes to China, where authorities turn down high-profile films like "World War Z" and send promotional activities into a nosedive.
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Earlier this month, Disney was forced to cancel a visit by star Johnny Depp and producer Jerry Bruckheimer to China to promote "The Lone Ranger" after its release date in the country became a moving target.
Though China's film market has continued to grow more than 35 percent through the first half of 2013, revenue from imported films has shrunk by 21.3 percent, according to data by China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.
China has been a particularly difficult market for Universal to crack in recent months. The studio did manage to secure a berth for its other summer blockbuster "Fast & Furious 6," but the film will not open in China until this Friday, almost two months since its U.S. debut in the United States — and that could be trouble for the film, which is not in 3D.
Films that are made in 2D need to hit the China market as close to their premiere in other countries or they run the risk of competing with pirated versions of themselves, according to the Chinese film executive.
Even without its release in China, "Despicable Me 2" has generated nearly $600 million worldwide and "Fast & Furious 6" has racked up more than $700 million globally.
There's a reason why studios are desperate to break into the country, however. Among the films did secure Chinese releases this year, "Iron Man 3” has brought in $121 million from the country while "The Croods” grossed $63 million.