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It's no secret that the Ghostbusters reboot has dealt with a lot over the past year, from its scrutinized main cast to its underwhelming trailers. Just when you thought that, with its better than expected reviews, Ghostbusters had moved beyond the trouble that's blighted its impending release for so long, it's been revealed that the movie has yet to confirm its China release. That's not exactly ideal.
Earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter alleged that the Sony blockbuster, which has cost the studio at least $144 million, plus marketing, to release, had been denied a release in the world's most populous nation and the number 2 film market behind the U.S. A few hours, later Deadline cleared up the matter by insisting that Sony hadn't yet submitted Ghostbusters for consideration in the country.
One reason why China might reject the release of Ghostbusters is that neither of the original Bill Murray led films were released there, meaning that there's less of an audience for the franchise. However, there is another, rather peculiar reason why China might turn down Ghostbusters. According to THR, the official censorship guidelines from the country "technically prohibit movies that 'promote cults or superstition.'" This is still in place from the "Communist Party's secular ideology," and in the past, the likes of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and other films that have integrated ghosts or the paranormal into everyday life have been banned. However, China has released some supernatural films, so there is still some leeway for Ghostbusters.
Paul Feig's Ghostbusters reboot has actually taken some steps to try and circumvent such a veto. When its Chinese title was announced earlier this spring, the Chinese character for "ghost" was auspiciously absent, despite the fact that the original films included it when they eventually became available in the country. So rather than having their predecessors' titles, which translated into Chinese as, Ghost Catcher Dare Die Team, the Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones film will instead potentially be entitled, Super Power Dare Die Team. God, I love China.
Over the last few years, China has quickly become the second largest film market in the world. Just this year, Zootopia, Warcraft, Captain America: Civil War, Kung Fu Panda 3 and The Jungle Book have each pulled in between $235 and $150 million in the territory alone. Sony will hope that, if it's accepted, Ghostbusters will match these sums and appeal to audiences in the region because of its goofy tone, impressive visuals and exquisite 3D.
If it is rejected, Ghostbusters will instead have to rely on other territories to help it claw backs its budget and turn a profit. We'll soon learn if it can do just that as Ghostbusters will finally be released into cinemas this coming Friday.