Ghostbusters reboot denied release in China over censorship guidelines (or lack of interest)


The Ghostbusters reboot is set for release this week, and will probably do pretty well at the box office thanks to controversy surrounding the clash between angry, nostalgic manchild nerds and people who are not them. Even if Ghostbusters does well this weekend, the film won’t be released in China, which is the second-largest film market in the world (e.g., Duncan Jones’ Warcraft was saved by the Chinese box office).

No, the film wasn’t banned for that Missy Elliott/Fall Out Boy song. According to The Hollywood Reporter, there are two stories to this banned release.

The official story is that Chinese censors felt the content of Ghostbusters may “promote cults or superstition,” apparently a holdover from the secularism of the Chinese Communist Party. Yet according to sources at China Film Co. (the state-run film body that handles import and release of foreign pictures), Ghostbusters will not be released because the movie probably won’t appeal to Chinese filmgoers. An unnamed Hollywood source says that Ghostbusters hasn’t even been officially submitted to Chinese censors.

This bodes ill for the final box office take, though it makes sense that Chinese audiences might not care about Ghostbusters. While venerated to an insane degree here, it may not have the same cachet in Mainland China. (Maybe I should check Weibo for manchildren ranting about Melissa McCarthy and Leslie Jones ruining their childhood.) In Hong Kong, which has a rich tradition of kooky-ass supernatural movies, Ghostbusters might do gangbusters. Or maybe not. Who knows?

[via THR]

Hubert Vigilla
Brooklyn-based fiction writer, film critic, and long-time editor and contributor for Flixist. A booster of all things passionate and idiosyncratic.