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China Gives Greenlight to 2 Marvel Movies After 3 and a Half Year Ban
By Alex Wu
January 29, 2023 Updated: January 29, 2023
By Alex Wu January 29, 2023
Updated: January 29, 2023
Walt Disney Co. has announced that they have secured a release date for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and the upcoming “Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumani,” after the recent return of CEO Robert Allen Iger.
The two films will be the first of the Marvel superhero franchise to be released in China since 2019. Disney’s top management believes the previous screening bans had negative impact on their international box office ratings. Marvel has been Disney’s most profitable studio for the past decade.
“Avatar: The Way of Water,” a Disney release that was screened in China’s movie theaters amid the country’s recent COVID surge in December, has underperformed in box office, bringing in $57.1 million—far below its expected $120 million.
Last year was a particularly bleak year for the Chinese film industry. Frequent lockdowns across the country have forced many movie theaters to suspend operations.
According to public data, in 2022, the total national movie box office dropped to a little above 30 billion yuan ($4.42 billion). That figure is down 36 percent from the 2021 and less than half of the record-setting 2019.
However, the Avatar sequel has received a rare extension in Chinese theaters, due to “Iger’s powers of persuasion in China,” as U.S. media have observed.
Iger has had close working relationship with Chinese communist leaders. At one time, he was even considered a candidate for U.S. ambassador to China under President Joe Biden (D), though he didn’t take the job.
U.S. studios have struggled to release blockbusters in China for years, and Disney executives attribute some of their movies’ lower-than-expected box office results to the Chinese regime’s increasingly tightened control on movies in China.
Success at the Box Office Counters CCP Censorship
Hollywood blockbuster “Top Gun: Maverick” was the latest in a string of Hollywood blockbusters banned from the Chinese market due to the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s censorship. The flags of Taiwan and Japan—which are very sensitive to the Chinese regime as it claims Taiwan as part of its territory and resents Japan—appeared on the leather jacket of the male protagonist played by Tom Cruise, although in a 2019 trailer, the flags were removed from Cruise’s bomber jacket to please Beijing. But the move upset Americans.
Paramount reinstated the flags on the Jacket in the released movie in summer 2022. The CCP then banned its release in China.
Although “Top Gun: Maverick” didn’t get released in China or Russia, the film’s global box office passed $1 billion.
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which was also banned by the CCP in Chinese market, achieved impressive global box office results as well.
In the trailer, when Doctor Strange played by Benedict Cumberbatch fights Gargantos on the streets of New York, a yellow newspaper box of The Epoch Times appears in the street corner. The box has two lines of small characters in Chinese that read, “Great changes in history ahead, The Epoch Times points the way with the truth.”
The Epoch Times is a multi-language global media company, headquartered in New York City. It reports uncensored China news, especially about the CCP’s decades-long illegal persecution of Falun Gong, a spiritual practice based on the universal principles of truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance.
The Epoch Times’ iconic yellow newspaper boxes are distributed in major cities, especially in Chinese diaspora communities.
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