“Marvel” two major films are rumored to be blocked by China Zhao Ting’s new work is afraid of no mainland market

U.S. “superhero” movies have always regarded mainland China as an important market. But according to the media, two blockbusters from Hollywood’s Marvel, including a new film by Oscar-winning Chinese-American director Zhao Ting, may not be released in China. China’s official censorship measures have once again raised concerns.

The Eternals” (The Eternals) is seen as the “Marvel” 2021 finale, a superhero film said to cost $200 million and starring big names such as Angelina Jolie. The movie is directed by Oscar-winning Chinese-American director Zhao Ting, which has become another selling point, but mainland Chinese audiences are likely to have no chance with this high-profile blockbuster.

According to Variety, CCTV6, the movie channel of China Central Television (CCTV), recently listed eight American films for release in China, but “Eternal Family” was not included in the list. The CCTV movie channel is under the jurisdiction of the Central Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China. “According to a report by Variety, although the absence of a movie on the list does not mean it has been blocked, it at least indicates that the movie may have had an “accident”.

The “Eternal Family” incident was interpreted as being related to director Zhao Ting’s alleged “insult to China”. In fact, the Chinese media did not mention anything about her Oscar win, and even her film Nomadland was cancelled from theaters.

Also suspected of being blocked by Chinese officials is another “Marvel” blockbuster, “Shang-chi,” which features an unprecedented Asian superhero but has been criticized by Chinese media for insulting China in terms of character names, backgrounds, and character designs.

China tightens its grip on foreign culture

A Chinese producer, who asked to remain anonymous, told the station that two Hollywood blockbusters are facing closure, reflecting China’s tightening grip on foreign culture.

The producer: “It’s a cultural clampdown that they don’t want outside voices, outside information to flow into the country and affect the Communist Party’s so-called stability; it’s about intercepting all information from outside, whether it’s good or bad for it. Officially, these specific authorities, for reasons of policy from above, want to try to manage the piece they are in charge of, including the film censorship piece. “

Taiwan Film Critics Association executive director Weng Huangde believes that the “Variety” magazine’s report is quite reliable.

Weng Huangde: “I believe Variety (Variety) will have such a report, the source is not all from seeing CCTV reports. Variety’ magazine is a very authoritative entertainment media in the United States, the U.S. side of the film set should have a wealth of sources, the news that the ‘Eternal Race’ can not be released may have already been spread. The film “Eternal Family” is not a Chinese oriented work, and I think it’s clear that the reason “Eternal Group” (was blocked) had very much to do with the fact that the director was Zhao Ting.”

He said that China’s film censorship system changes from time to time, and that Zhao Ting’s new film was suspected of being blocked.

Weng Huangde: “There have been some details of the censorship system in China that are not known to outsiders. For example, the censorship process, who is called to review? What are the details to pay attention to? Almost every year there are new practices, and there may be some adjustments as different people come to implement them and policies change. Zhao Ting’s comments, coupled with the deterioration of U.S.-China relations, may have been ordered by higher-ups to rule out the film’s release.”

Zhao Ting has become a taboo subject in China. Taiwan film critic Weng Huangde estimates that “Comic-Con” has already done the worst for “Eternals”.

Weng Huangde: “Now the release information is withdrawn, I think it is not only the official intention, perhaps in the perspective of the film business. If you gamble that it has a chance to be released, and then withdraw it again before the release of the Sino-American relations deteriorate, the loss to the film studio may be greater. I don’t think it’s just official, but the studio is probably in a position to give up. They don’t want to gamble on the film’s release to avoid greater risk.”

Critics: Better not have any Chinese references at all

Both “Marvel” blockbusters contain Chinese elements. Weng Huangde said the incident sends a clear message to Hollywood.

Weng Huangde: “One of the messages from China for Hollywood is that it’s better not to have any subject matter related to Chinese elements at all, whether good or bad, the Chinese market will not welcome it. (The movie) “Mulan” did not do as well as expected, and now “Shang Qi” has no clear evidence that it has the intention of vilifying the Chinese, but even the Chinese market can’t accept it anymore. If Hollywood wants to continue to maintain a good relationship with the Chinese market, that is, if the movie is still to be released in the Chinese market, it is better to downplay the Chinese elements.”