After a three year absence, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is making a surprise return to China. In February, both Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will premiere in the country, making them the first since 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home. As for why the franchise has been banned from Chinese theaters all these years, the Chinese Film Association has never officially said. However, it’s not hard to figure out why, and it’s uh, not great.
Via The Guardian:
Film industry analysts have raised several potential reasons over the years, including the presence of LGBTQ+ characters and symbols of US patriotism, like the Statue of Liberty; the hiring of the Eternals director Chloé Zhao, who was criticised for statements she made about her home country in interviews; and growing political tension between the US and China.
The Guardian cites reports that Spider-Man: No Way Home was allegedly banned because of its prominent use of the Statue of Liberty in the film’s climax, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was not approved because it featured both a lesbian couple and a newspaper that is critical of the Chinese Communist party.
As for whether the Marvel films set for release in February have been edited to ensure a Chinese release… we don’t know yet. It is a lucrative market for theatrical releases during a time when even studios like Disney are looking for revenue increases following the pandemic. However, China is also looking to boost its own economy and seems to be more receptive to Hollywood of late. Avatar: The Way of Water was allowed to be released during the Lunar new year holiday, which is typically reserved for domestic releases, so maybe everyone is chilling out across the board.
(Via The Guardian)