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Why Keanu Reeves’ Movies Are Being Pulled From China

Keanu Reeves in John Wick: Chapter 2
(Image credit: Lionsgate)

The last several years have been particularly good for Keanu Reeves’ public profile, from his continued run as John Wick and playing Ted Logan again nearly three decades after the last Bill & Ted movie, to more people simply learning that he’s an all-around great human being. However, if you’re a Reeves fan and live in China, bad news: a lot of his movies are being pulled from the country’s streamers.

Earlier this month, Keanu Reeves participated in a benefit concert for Tibet House, a nonprofit organization in New York that’s affiliated with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The Chinese government doesn’t recognize Tibet’s claim to independence, and weeks after Reeves’ participation in this concert, The Los Angeles Times reports that China’s streaming services have removed the majority of the actor’s movies from their respective libraries.

On the iQiyi platform, no results come up for Keanu Reeves, with some of the deleted movies including the original Matrix trilogy, Speed, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Something’s Gotta Give and The Lake House. At least 19 of Reeves’ movies were removed from Tencent Video (the same platform that recently showed a bizarre alternate ending for Fight Club), and on services like Youku and Migu Video, everything thing Reeves-related except for Toy Story 4 were taken off. That said, there’s even weirdness afoot now with the 2019 Pixar movie where Reeves voiced Duke Caboom, because while the majority of the credits are shown in English, the voice cast is shown in Chinese and only shows the actors who dubbed the voices, meaning Reeves and his American costars aren’t mentioned at all.

It’s worth noting that Keanu Reeves’ participation in the Tibet House benefit concert was announced at the beginning of January, and shortly beforehand was the Chinese release of his latest movie, the skyscraper stunt-boasting The Matrix Resurrections. It was the first American blockbuster to hit China in almost two months, and in addition to being one of Hollywood’s most well-known actors in the country since the 1990s, Reeves has also collaborated closely with China’s film authorities in the past. His 2013 movie Man of Tai Chi was also a U.S.-China co-production.

Alas, as March 2022 winds down, Keanu Reeves is now the latest celebrity to earn the Chinese government’s ire after expressing support Tibet, with others including Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and Selena Gomez. With the way things are going for Reeves in China right now, it’s looking doubtful that his upcoming movies will be released there unless there’s a policy reversal. Alex Yu, a researcher at China Digital Times, told the LA Times that it’s “pretty much impossible to pinpoint which agency or person is responsible” for Reeves' movies being removed from Chinese platforms.

Keanu Reeves can next be heard voicing Batman in DC League of Super-Pets, which opens in theaters on July 29. His next on-screen cinematic outing will be when John Wick: Chapter 4 comes out on March 24, 2023. As of January, Reeves was also reportedly being looked at to take over Leonardo DiCaprio’s role in Hulu’s Devil in the White City.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.