Hollywood has traditionally gone above and beyond to satisfy Chinese censors. no more.
Producers of several of the hottest US movies over the last year have kept in scenes that would irritate China’s censors, seemingly less concerned about the possibility of losing access to theatres around the nation of 1.4 billion people.
Because of this, some of the most eagerly awaited films to be released recently, such as “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and “Lightyear,” have not yet and may never reach the second-largest box office in the world.
In China, authorities must approve each public screening of a film. Censorship is rampant, with authorities progressively cracking down on anything they deem offensive, including in certain cases the display of cleavage, tattoos, individuals smoking, and more overtly political content.
Consider the brand-new “Top Gun” sequel, which is currently the year’s top film. According to the Wall Street Journal, a Chinese supporter reportedly pushed filmmakers to remove Taiwan’s flag from a 2019 teaser for the film. Later, once Tencent (TCEHY), the investor, purportedly withdrew, the insignia was restored to Tom Cruise’s renowned bomber jacket.
Relations between China and Taiwan are complicated. Despite never having had control over it, Beijing’s Communist government has long claimed Taiwan, a self-governing democratic island, as a part of its territory.
The action was then met with another rejection from Disney (DIS) and Pixar, who were reportedly asked to delete a brief, same-sex kissing sequence from their most recent animated film, “Lightyear,” by authorities in nations like China. Images of homosexuality have long been strictly prohibited in China.
Galyn Susman, the film’s producer, told Reuters that Disney rejected to make the cut and that she thought the movie wouldn’t debut in the nation. The film, starring Chris Evans as the eponymous space ranger Buzz Lightyear, had its international debut last month.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Disney has submitted the movie for release in mainland China and is currently waiting for a formal answer.