Deadpool Banned in China

By  · Published on January 18th, 2016

20th Century Fox

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), the administration in China that regulates all media, is not known for its sense of humor. This is the organization that decides whether or not movies will be approved or denied release in China. There is no ratings system, there is simply a government-run pass/fail system based on whatever they feel is appropriate.

This usually means that R-rated movies are scrubbed of content deemed inappropriate before they are allowed to be released into Chinese theaters. But every once in a while, a movie comes along that cannot simply be trimmed to meet the standards of the censors.

20th Century Fox’s Deadpool is that kind of movie. THR is reporting today, sourcing numerous Chinese outlets, that Deadpool has been denied permission to be released in China.

While this isn’t entirely surprising news, it could be seen as good news for American audiences who are clamoring for a vulgar, violent, R-rated superhero film unlike anything they’ve seen before. It’s not great news for 20th Century Fox, however, as a ban in China will cut into the film’s box office. Whether or not that will have enough of an impact to say, hurt the chances of a Deadpool sequel, will remain to be seen. The film has reportedly been made on a much lower budget than most superhero movies (something that allowed for its R-rating), so the box office bar for a sequel could be lower than what is traditionally necessary for other franchises.

For the people of China, that theatrical experience of seeing the Merc with the Mouth may be lost, but the countries piracy market continues to flourish. There’s no doubt that Chinese fans of Deadpool will have the opportunity to see the film eventually. Though it’s sad that they won’t be able to reward the film directly with ticket purchases, see it in a theater with an audience or see it in HD, for that matter.

With Deadpool banned in China, 20th Century Fox will no doubt continue to focus on the release elsewhere. It hits theaters in Belgium, France, the UK, Indonesia, Ireland, Luxemborg, the Philippines and Taiwan on February 10; much of the rest of Europe, the Pacific and South America on February 11; the United States, Canada and Mexico on February 12; Greece and South Korea on February 18; Spain on February 19; and then Japan on August 12, for some strange reason.

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the upcoming One Perfect Shot TV show (HBO Max, 2021) and the co-host of The Storm: A LOST Rewatch podcast. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)