Ghostbusters Banned in China!


Oh, for fuck’s sake. Ghostbusters has been banned in China. Yep, The Hollywood Reporter tells us that residents of the People’s Republic of China won’t get to experience the reboot that’s been the target of so much aggression from fans over the past several months.

You see, the film’s about ghosts. And apparently, ghosts are not a hot property in China. The county’s censorship laws prohibit media that “promotes cults or superstition,” which is an unfortunate remnant of legislation from their Communist Party’s secular ideology. The first two Ghostbusters films also never saw the light of day there.

The other reason is that China Film Co., which handles distribution of foreign movies in the country, felt that Ghostbusters would not be attractive to Chinese audiences, which, in addition to being a terrible reason in itself, seems to just be a way to cover up the restrictions on freedom of speech in the country.

As of late, major studios have obsessively been trying to give their films as much appeal as possible in China, which is predicted to become the largest film market in the world next year. A gross of anything less than $100 million over there is now considered a disappointment.

So this ban is going to present a major problem for Ghostbusters’ financial run. With a production budget of $144 million (not including substantial marketing costs), it’s going to have to gross well over $350 million worldwide to break even, let alone for a sequel to become a possibility. And will this be possible with the loss of one of its largest markets? Anything’s possible I guess, but for a film that some are already predicting to flop, this does not bode well.

Crimson Peak, which was also about ghosts, was similarly denied a release in China, and it ended up grossing a pathetic $74 million worldwide on a budget of $55 million. Ghostbusters clearly has more mass appeal, but this is still a worrying situation. It’s also worth noting that China single-handedly saved Warcraft from being a complete financial failure (although Universal is still set to lose money from the film), so any hopes that Sony had of using the country as a last resort to save Ghostbusters should it under-perform elsewhere have been dashed.

On the bright side, Deadpool was also banned in China for its gratuitous violence (did I mention that China still has a long way to go when it comes to freedom of speech?), and it went on to become the highest grossing R-rated film of all time, earning an incredible $782 million worldwide, so there is yet hope.

ghostbusters team(1)



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