It’s been no secret that some upcoming Marvel Studios’ films were facing challenges with a potential Chinese release. The market is a welcome boost to international numbers, as it gave many films a second life. Currently, China is quite stingy with non-local releases, as F9 and Free Guys are the only films that really managed to enter the market. Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, as well as Eternals were already very uncertain, but it seems some comments from a 2017 interview with Simu Liu may have sealed Shang-Chi‘s fate.
In the interview with CBC, the actor opened up about stories from his parents where he called China a “third world” country. Even highlighting that “people were dying of starvation.” These kinds of statements are most likely going to make the rounds putting it on China’s radar. As such, it looks like the film won’t find its way into the market due to the necessity of approval.
Eternals is also facing a similar challenge due to Chloé Zhao‘s own history with openly discussing the Middle Kingdom. Her Oscar win was praised by China before comments surfaced and it took a very different direction. It doesn’t seem like Marvel Studios is putting all their bets on any releases, but there have been hints they are still hoping that the films find their way to the country.
It’s uncertain if these restrictions will remain for some time, but Black Widow is still facing troubles without an Eastern release. On top of it all, the Disney+ release is also facing the challenges of being a digital release, as piracy is an issue in the country. Until there’s an official statement by