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Suicide Squad has been skewered by many critics over the last two days, but commercially, it doesn't look like the movie will suffer. Not only has it broken the August pre-sale record on Fandango, but it's also gotten off to a great start in certain countries overseas. However, the third DC Extended Universe may lose out on hitting a major movie market, as the chances of it being released in China aren't good.
Suicide Squad has yet to be given a release date in that country from China Film Group, the distributor that handles importing foreign movies for the Chinese movie lovers. Insiders who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter didn't provide a detailed explanation for why the latest DC movie won't be screened, with one Chinese executive simply stating that it's "not a good film to release in China." These release dates are usually set two months in advance, and while there's always a chance it could sneak in later on, if there's no word about Suicide Squad hitting theaters now, it's doubtful it ever will.
Rather than be given an official rating, movies in China are reviewed by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television. They judge which movies are appropriate to screen to the public, and while we don't know the full story, evidently Suicide Squad hasn't made the cut. Along with the movie's violence counting against it, the THR article noted how one of the Chinese censorship guidelines excludes anything "propagating passive or negative outlook on life, worldview and value system," which could be directed at the movie's cast of villains. (These movie overseers are also not big on ghosts.) However, it was hoped that Suicide Squad's PG-13 rating might help it get through. Warner Bros even changed the title to Special Task Force X for Chinese audiences, adding an adjective to the team's official designation. Evidently those haven't enough to secure a release in the country.
Considering how China has become an important market for U.S. blockbusters, Suicide Squad not being released here would definitely be a blow, but not a huge one. Hollywood doesn't get as back from the Chinese box office, and it certainly helps that Suicide Squad has already been performing well at the start of its international release. Remember, Deadpool was banned from China, but it still managed to snag over $780 million worldwide. It's questionable whether Suicide Squad will come close to that amount, but the point is that just because it won't be seen in China doesn't mean it won't still haul in the big bucks. Whether it will earn enough for Warner Bros to consider it a financial success, we'll have to wait and see.
Suicide Squad officially comes out tomorrow in the U.S., though depending on which area you live in, it may already be playing in your local theater.