Movies & TV / News

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Black Adam Not Expected To Release in China

November 11, 2022 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

The two biggest new superhero films are not expected to get releases in China, namely Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Black Adam. THR reports that the two films are expected to be blocked from releasing in the country, denying Marvel Studios and DC Studios access to one of the biggest markets in the world for theatrical releases.

Neither film’s block come as big surprises. China has been putting the clamps on Hollywood more and more recently and have refused to allow films like Spider-Man: No Way Home, Thor: Love and Thunder and many others to screen in the country. Past DC films such as Suicide Squad did not secure releases in the country either.

Hollywood has become increasingly less reliant on the profits that Chinese box office can bring in. Still, it is a significant cut of money; Black Panther brought in $105 million in China and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s films have traditionally done very well in the country, often often surpassing their gross in the US.

It isn’t clear why Black Adam is not being allowed in; there was rumor that it may have had something to do with co-star Pierce Brosnan having previously shown support for the Dalai Lama, a figure who Chinese officials view as a dangerous figure for his support of Tibetan independence. The film could use the box office push from China though, as it has grossed $327 million worldwide and has a ways to go to make up its $200 million production budget plus marketing.

In Wakanda Forever’s case, it appears that the reason for its ban is the appearance of two openly gay characters in Aneka (Michaela Coel) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba) who are in a relationship in the movie. China has often required censorship of queer characters to secure releases and while Marvel/Disney has followed the Hollywood habit of altering content in the past, they recently took a stand against doing so. That is believed to have been the reason for Love & Thunder and Pixar’s Lightyear being banned from release there.

In the past three years, the only superhero film from the US to get release in China was The Batman, which led some to believe that Black Adam could get a release in the nation. However, an executive at a major theater chain told THR that they have “stopped hoping” for the film’s release.

The crackdown on American blockbusters isn’t just hurting studios, as Chinese theater chains are down in ticket sales by 35% in 2022 compared to last year. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is expected to launch with between $175 million to $200 million in the US this weekend.