China lets Marvel movies back in, sets dates for Black Panther, Ant-Man sequels
LOS ANGELES – Walt Disney’s Marvel Studios on Tuesday announced February release dates for the Black Panther and Ant-Man sequels in China, marking the first time in nearly four years that the country has allowed Marvel movies into its cinemas.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will arrive in Chinese theatres on Feb 7, followed by Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania on Feb 17, Marvel announced on Chinese social media network Weibo.
Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania, the third movie about the superhero who can shrink to the size of an insect, will premiere the same day in China as it does in the United States.
Wakanda Forever, the sequel to 2018‘s blockbuster hit Black Panther, debuted in global theatres in November.
The loss of the Chinese market in recent years cost Disney tens of millions of dollars.
The first Black Panther film took in US$105 million (S$138 million) at Chinese theatres, while the second Ant-Man movie in 2018 generated US$121 million, according to Box Office Mojo.
The February releases will be the first Marvel films to play in Chinese cinemas since Spider-Man: Far From Home in July 2019.
Chinese officials never explained why they did not allow other Marvel movies, including Eternals (2021) and Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (2021), to play in the country.
Eternals was directed by China-born film-maker Chloe Zhao, who was slammed on Chinese social media in 2021 after netizens unearthed comments she had made in past interviews in which she seemed to be critical of her native country.
Meanwhile, there has been speculation that Shang-Chi was not screened in China due to the title character’s links in the original comics to Chinese supervillain Fu Manchu, who is now widely seen as a racist stereotype.
Disney has also refused requests from some countries to edit movies such as Eternals and Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022) to remove references to same-sex relationships. REUTERS