Why the new ‘Ghostbusters’ is banned in China

07.13.16 12 months ago

Who you gonna call? Not the Ghostbusters, if you”re in China.

The world”s most populous country won”t be getting a release of the new Ghostbusters movie, THR reported today.

Films that “promote cults or superstition” are prohibited by China”s official censorship guidelines (due to the Communist Party”s traditionally secular principles). Last year”s Crimson Peak also didn”t get a release in China, possibly because of its supernatural elements.

Meanwhile, China is totally cool with mermaids.

The original 1984 Ghostbusters never screened in Chinese theaters. THR explains that its title was translated as five characters literally meaning “Ghost Catcher Dare Die Team.” Sony gave the reboot the Chinese title “Super Power Dare Die Team,” perhaps with hopes of getting the movie into the crucial Chinese market.

It”s undeniable that China – the world”s no. 2 film market – is key to a movie”s worldwide box office success today. Zootopia and Captain America: Civil War are two of this year”s top-performing Hollywood movies in China this year (helping launch those movies to the top of 2016″s global box office so far), the third being Warcraft, which bombed in the U.S. despite doing huge grosses in China.

Sony is now dealing with the fact that Ghostbusters won”t get that China boost.

Slimer may not be totally to blame: as one unnamed Chinese executive close to the China Film Co. (the state-owned organization that handles the release of all foreign movies in the country) told THR, “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.”

Over in Japan, though, there”s plenty of anticipation for Ghostbusters: the theme song got an official cover and music video from Sony Japan, and fast food restaurants there are already gearing up with Ghostbusters-themed meals.

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