These days it appears that Avatar can do no wrong. The James Cameron film is slowly but surely nearing Titanic‘s record for the largest international ticket sales, and has climbed to number 3 on the all time grossing domestic chart behind The Dark Knight. So what could put a damper on Avatar‘s record breaking domination? How about one of the largest countries in the world pulling the film out of theaters?

According to The Los Angeles Times, Avatar‘s time in China has been cut short. The film is being pulled from theaters in favor of their hometown fare, Confucius, which will feature Chow Yun-fat as the world famous philosopher. Apparently, Cameron’s latest has already run longer than any other foreign movie at their theaters and it’s time for it to come to an end.

David Wolf, the president and chief executive of Wolf Group Asia, said Chinese officials are curbing the run of Avatar because they want to protect the box office returns of domestic films. It’s a routine practice to protect their native filmmaking industry.

“China limits the number of foreign films permitted to be shown in the country to 20 a year, and also regulates the amount of time each of those films can be shown.” It sounds like they’re looking out for number one, which means the U.S. produced Avatar will have to cut its losses and move on.

At the moment Avatar is getting incredibly close to Titanic‘s all time record of 1.8 billion with its current cume of 1.6 billion dollars earned. With China withdrawing their theatrical support, the race to number one might hit a snag. But the domestic numbers on the U.S. front have managed to maintain a slow decline as the weeks have progressed. Could Titanic still be in Avatar‘s reach?

Do you think Avatar can beat Titanic’s record without the Chinese box office?