Here's Why Ghostbusters Will Not Be Released In China

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Ghostbusters won’t be shown in China, according to reports in both EW and The Hollywood Reporter.

Though Sony refused comment on the decision not to submit the film to China’s censorship board for approval, it’s likely due to the board’s policy disallowing films that “promote cults or superstition.” That’s meant bans for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (ghosts and cannibalism) and Crimson Peak for its ghoulish themes.

China allows for 34 Hollywood films to be released in the country each year, and serves as a huge secondary market for major releases. That’s why you’ll see subplots in films like The Martian in which the Chinese are specifically depicted as heroes; movie studios want butts in seats. (Yes, that specific subplot was also in the book.)

The Hollywood Reporter says that the decision not to submit the film was based not on supernatural elements, but on perceived lack of market appeal. The film will traffic heavily in nostalgia, which won’t make sense to a Chinese population that largely hasn’t seen the original two films.

“The original Bill Murray-starring 1984 classic, which never screened theatrically in China, was translated as ‘捉鬼敢死队,’ five characters literally meaning ‘Ghost Catcher Dare Die Team,’” THR notes. “The sequels followed suit. The reboot, however, has been reworked as '超能敢死队,' meaning ‘Super Power Dare Die Team.’”

So maybe there was some thought it was eligible, but it was ultimately rejected upon further consideration.

Meanwhile, Warcraft, a film about a race of orcs teaming with humans and using magic to fight an evil magical force, avoided censorship and raked in $220 million in China. Maybe the thinking is the plot of Warcraft was so confusing that nobody could be influenced by it to do anything besides leave the theater?

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