Sony Stands Up To China, Refuses To Remove Iconic Scene From Spiderman Movie

Written By BlabberBuzz | Friday, 06 May 2022 16:45
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Chinese moviegoers love U.S. films, but the communist regime is not so fond of them seeing America's symbols of freedom, so they often require film studios cut scenes or themes from the versions shown there.

Spider-Man is having none of it. "With great power comes great responsibility," says Spidey's code, and Sony Pictures, which broadcasts the Marvel Studios film, appears to be following Peter Parker's advice in finally standing up to the nemesis of free expression.

For those who still haven’t seen the blockbuster (and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness comes out this weekend, so what are you waiting for?!), the whole final battle takes place on, over, and around the Statue of Liberty. The movie sees the landmark being redesigned to honor the late Captain America, and the trio of Spider-Men uses the structure to their advantage while fighting the group of supervillains. It’s a 20-plus-minute climactic sequence in which the Statue of Liberty is the set.

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Sony's previous two Tom Holland Spider-Man movies grossed $116 million and $200 million in China, so when they wanted to spread "Spider-Man: No Way Home" there, authorities asked Sony to extract the Statue of Liberty from the ending, reports Puck, quoting multiple sources.

When Sony said no to the request, Chinese authorities requested if the statue's presence could be reduced in the 20-minute sequence.

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Sony considered the request but made no changes, Puck's sources told. The film ultimately was not broadcasted in China. It isn't known whether Chinese censors kept the film from being shown or whether Sony decided not to bother.

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"Spider-Man: No Way Home" grossed almost $1.9 billion worldwide even without playing in China, according to Box Office Mojo, which called it the sixth-highest movie release ever. U.S. movie studios have been bowing to Chinese censors' requests for years. Warner Brothers recently extracted dialogue referring to a same-sex relationship in "Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore" in its Chinese version.

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There hasn’t been a Marvel movie theatrically premiered in China since Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019. Previously, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals were banned after individuals involved with the films (star Simu Liu and director Chloé Zhao, respectively) made demeaning comments about the Chinese government. Their final box office haul? $432.2 and $402.1 million, respectively. Oh, well.

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Black Widow had been authorized by China’s censors, but because its release would have been pushed until after the ruling Communist Party honored its 100th anniversary, pirated versions destroyed any potential financial gains from a Chinese release.

It appears that Marvel’s next movie, Multiverse of Madness, once again skip Chinese release — and for a significantly editable, minor reason. A newspaper stands with the Chinese characters for the international, multi-language, anti-Chinese Communist Party publication The Epoch Times can be a scene in the film’s opening minutes. It’s probably just as well that the Doctor Strange sequel doesn’t land in China, as you’re gonna want to have seen No Way Home first.

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