Could Doctor Strange Fall Foul Of The Chinese Ghostbusters Ban?

cumberbatch4f-2-webSo, Ghostbusters looks like it may be denied a release in China, one of the biggest new markets for Western blockbusters.

The Hollywood Reporter says so anyway, though Variety and Deadline say it is yet to be screened for Chinese censors and that Sony is prepared for rejection.

Official guidelines censor films that "promote cults or superstition." And dead returning as ghosts would seem to count, even when couched in the scientific terminology of the movie. No matter how many proton packs, it's still ghoulies from beyond…

Which does bring up another matter.  What about Marvel's Doctor Strange? The film has cast Benedict Cumberbatch, a huge star in China courtesy of Sherlock. The movie has also been de-Tibetanised with Chinese sensitivities in mind. But it stars a Sorceror Supreme. Whichever way you slice it, that's "superstition"….

It's what led to Noah, Crimson Peak and Ben Hur being deprived of a release, of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest – though World's End got through with heavy cuts.

And Doctor Strange? Well-connected sources tell me  that the filmmakers have been very aware of sensitivities during production.

The usual trick is to introduce an element that suggest magic is an illusion, a hallucination, a trick of the mind…. could that happen here?


About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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