While Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premiered nearly two weeks ago in the United States, there’s still been no word on when — or if — the film will hit Chinese theaters. In fact, it’s beginning to feel more and more likely that Marvel’s first Asian superhero film — and its star, Simu Liu — could be banned in the country for “perceived insults.”
According to a Variety report, “jingoistic social media users” have unearthed content featuring actor Simu Liu that they claim “insults China,” and could put the future of the film in jeopardy due to the nation’s current political climate. Among the alleged content shared in an attempt to condemn Liu is a GQ video about Liu’s favorite Asian snacks, in which he praises “a lemon tea drink made by Hong Kong beverage firm Vitasoy,” a company many Chinese citizens recently called to boycott for being “anti-Chinese.” Considering how much Disney has actively courted for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings to be released in China, the world’s largest film market, a ban would be a massive blow for the company and could hurt Simu Liu’s chances at being cast in future films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Interestingly enough, however, according to Variety several Chinese viewers who managed to the film abroad who have deemed it “unexpectedly good.” After hearing about the potential ban, one viewer stated, “I didn’t see any insulting of China — I saw kissing up to China,” while another said “Shang-Chi‘s take on Chinese elements is so much better than that of Mulan. Although the Chinese accents of the American-born Chinese and Hong Kong stars was a bit hard to get through, they were done with sincerity.”
So far, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has grossed over $146 million in North America since its release on September 3 and seems likely to become the first release to cross the $200 million mark since the start of the pandemic last March. Fingers crossed China will get the chance to see the film here soon and help make those numbers even higher.