The Chinese Film Bureau finally approved the release of Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity on Monday after weeks of speculation, according to the Beijing News. It’s set to hit the world’s second largest film market in November.
The space adventure, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, has already earned $123.4 million worldwide two weeks after its release. Chinese censors, mindful of their country’s own space program, generally do not approve films that celebrate NASA’s achievements. However, Gravity portrays the Chinese space station in a neutral (if not positive) light, as the station plays some role in the main character’s journey.
Though the U.S. and Russia have largely abandoned space travel, China still sees its space missions as a point of national pride. The country first launched a man into space in 2003, followed by multi-man trips in 2005 and 2008. Recently, China has sent two missions to crew an experimental space stations called Tiangong 1 (Heavenly Place). However, China has been denied permission to joing the 16-country International Space Program because of U.S. concerns about China gaining access to military secrets.