Marvel Movies Return to China (After Apparent 4-Year Ban)

By Lars James Hamer, January 18, 2023

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Marvel movies are set for a return to the Chinese box office after almost four years.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will be screened in Chinese cinemas from February 7, and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will follow two weeks later. 

The two movies are set to be the first Marvel productions to play in Chinese theatres since Spiderman: Far from Home in July 2019. 

Although Chinese officials never explicitly said there was a sanction on Marvel movies in the country, new releases have not been shown on the mainland for almost four years.

The sudden vanishing of Marvel movie releases in the Middle Kingdom came at a time of heightened tensions between the US and China amid a trade war. 

Marvel released a statement saying that the movies would be shown in China, but did not give any reasons as to why previous movies had not been screened. 

The loss of the Chinese movie market, which was previously the biggest in the world pre-COVID pandemic, has cost production companies such as Disney millions of dollars. 

In the past, Disney has refused China’s tight censorship requests, which sought to remove references to same-sex relationships in Eternals and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Films (as well as other forms of media) are tightly controlled in China and the China Film Administration (a division of the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department) decides if a foreign movie can be aired in the country. 

In August last year, the ending to Minions: The Rise of Gru was altered for Chinese cinemagoers.

The ending to the popular prequel was cut and replaced with text saying that Wild Knuckles had been arrested and Gru became “one of the good guys,” despite this massively contradicting the original Minions movies. 

READ MORE: China Alters End of Minions Movie, Makes it Less Despicable

And this was not the first time that movie endings had been altered for the Chinese audience.

Last year Tencent was blasted by netizens for altering the ending of Fight Club, before ultimately restoring the original ending after the backlash. 

READ MORE: Tencent Restores Fight Club's Original Ending

Will the Marvel movies be altered before their China release? We can only wait and see. 

READ MORE: 5 Times Movies Were Edited for China Release

[Cover image via Flickr]

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