local drama Make the stars shine easily won a third straight weekend at China’s box office, selling US$27.8 million worth of tickets for an impressive total of US$186.3 million, and counting. But the sentimental Chinese film, which tells the story of a surprising connection between a funeral director and an orphaned little girl, didn’t have much competition in the market – largely because Marvel’s Norse god Thor was completely absent from action.
China’s film regulatory authorities have not granted Taika Waititi Thor: Love and Thunder no release date yet – and it looks like they never will. So say sources from two major cinema chains in China The Hollywood Reporter that they expect gate 4 will suffer the same fate as Pixar light year: refused censorship approval due to fleeting moments in the film involving LGBTQ characters.
Beijing’s censors never publicly explain or comment on their decisions, but industry participants inside and outside China carefully consider such moves and consult with authorities to determine where the lines are drawn. in the light yearA same-sex kiss between the character Hawthorne (voiced by Uzo Aduba) and her partner was believed to have prevented any chance of release in China, where LGBTQ storytelling is largely banned from big and small screens (so was the film). banned in Middle East, Malaysia and Indonesia).
gate 4 is similarly believed to be stuck in China’s censorship process due to a few brief LGBTQ moments, including suggestions that the character Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson) is bisexual and the character Korg is gay.
Thor: Ragnarok earned 112 million US dollars in China in 2017, so the loss of the market in China will surely ease love and thunder‘s worldwide sales total. More important to Disney, however, is the fact that Thor is far from the only Marvel hero to face the wrath of Chinese censorship. After almost a decade as China’s favorite Hollywood film franchise, Marvel has seen its last seven Hollywood tentpoles remain unreleased in the country. Industry observers have suggested various reasons why each film has run afoul of regulators — but the longer the trend continues, the more it looks like a deliberate attempt to dampen Marvel’s local popularity.
Black widow was the first Marvel title in the series not to be released in China; Some speculated that China passed on the film after Disney released it directly on Disney+ because of the pandemic, while others said the film’s vague depictions of communism about the Red Warden character had angered regulators.
Oscar-winning Chinese director Chloe Zhao eternal the next one was blocked, in this case because the filmmaker had made a statement in an interview for years that was interpreted as being critical of China. Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Then it was assumed that he would suffer a similar fate because Star Simu Liu had given an interview in the past in which he spoke about China as a “Third World” country. Spider-Man: No Way Home allegedly shown the Statue of Liberty too much for the liking of the Beijing censorship while Venom: Let there be carnage was dropped due to old comments by Tom Hardy that were considered racially insensitive to the Chinese people.
before gate 4, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness was the last to stir up trouble, allegedly for the inclusion of gay character America Chavez and an extremely short sequence showing a pro-Taiwanese newspaper at a kiosk of the city magazine.
On occasion, Hollywood studios have removed queer characters from their films to appease China’s censors — reaping millions more in box office revenue in the process. Before its acquisition by Disney, 20th Century Fox crossed out all mentions of Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality Bohemian Rhapsody to secure a trip to China, and Warner Bros. cut the dialogue citing a gay relationship Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore earlier this year.
However, Disney has recently taken a stance that it will not remove gay content to appease censorship in the territories where it distributes its theatrical films. The studio refused to cut a “gay moment” from the live action Beauty and the Beast in 2017 when Malaysian regulators objected, and it stood firm light year in the various markets where the film was banned.
Adding insult to injury in Thor 4′In that case, China’s box office potential has finally recovered in recent weeks after a long spell of COVID lockdowns in major cities. Crime thriller from Emperor Motion Pictures Detectives versus sleuths finished second behind Make the stars shine last weekend with a whopping $23.1 million debut. Universals Jurassic World Dominion meanwhile, slipped to third place, adding US$6.3 million, bringing the total in China to US$144.3 million.