Ghostbusters reboot denied cinematic release in China
Worldwide takings for the new Ghostbusters reboot will be taking a pretty significant hit now that the the world’s most populous nation – and #2 worldwide film market – won’t be able to watch the film in cinemas. You guessed it: the new Ghostbusters has been banned in China. Yet the reasons for which Paul Feig’s all-female ensemble movie has been blocked from the nation are somewhat nebulous. Let’s take a look…
According to The Hollywood Reporter, China’s official censorship guidelines technically prohibit movies that ‘promote cults or superstition’, which is why films featuring ghosts or supernatural beings in a semi-realistic way can be banned from a Chinese release: Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest being one such ill-fated example.
This might explain the reasoning behind the new film’s slightly odd retitling, in an apparent attempt to circumvent the censorship. While the title of the original 1984 film, which also never had a theatrical release in China, was translated to “捉鬼敢死队”, literally meaning “Ghost Catcher Dare Die Team”, the reboot has been reworked to have “超能敢死队” – meaning “Super Power Dare Die Team” – as its title.
However, one Chinese executive claims that superstition and censorship have very little to do with it:
“It’s been confirmed that Ghostbusters won’t be coming to China, because they think it’s not really that attractive to Chinese audiences. Most of the Chinese audience didn’t see the first and second movies, so they don’t think there’s much market for it here”, says the source.
Only time will tell how the decision will affect the profits of the Sony film, which has been showing in cinemas across the UK since Monday (July 11).