Marvel Has Officially Returned To The Biggest Country

The ban against Marvel by China's government has been lifted.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

The ban on Marvel movies in China has been lifted. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will debut in the region on February 7, almost three months after its global release. And Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania will hit theaters with the rest of the world on February 17. The news was revealed by the studio’s Chinese social media accounts, Variety reports.

These movies will be the first Marvel projects to play in theaters across China since Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019. Both films did extremely well at the Chinese box office, earning $632 million and $198 million respectively. Interestingly, the Chinese Film Board never explained why subsequent movies were blocked from screening in the country.

However, the Marvel ban seemed to begin as tensions between the U.S. and China reached a high amid a trade war. Other theories for the block were the prioritization of the domestic film industry in the region and censorship offenses committed in each movie. This includes brief LGBTQ moments and mentions of same-sex relationships in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder.

Symbols of American patriotism throughout the movies could also have contributed to the Marvel Ban. Black Widow, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Eternals, as well as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings were also blocked from release. But China isn’t the only country to restrict productions from the entertainment giant.

Marvel China

Several Middle Eastern territories like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait banned the release of The Eternals within their borders. The decision was made after the Chinese Film Board requested a number of edits to the film which were rejected by Marvel Studios. While the reason may vary, it’s been increasingly difficult for Hollywood to access screens in China since the pandemic.

Moreover, the screening of foreign films is tightly controlled in China, which imposes a yearly quota. According to BBC News, a division of the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda department, the China Film Administration, decides when and if a foreign production can be released in the country. As a result, the Marvel ban in China has possibly cost the studio millions of dollars.

Despite the Marvel ban, China’s relationship with American-led entertainment is improving. In late 2022, Avatar: The Way of Water was granted permission to play in the country. The return of major movies to the region is huge news for filmmakers, as it represents a chance for better earnings. So far, the James Cameron-directed project earned about $220 million in the territory.

But Marvel Studios isn’t the only one celebrating the news. Fans in China took to the local social media network, Weibo, to share their joy about the ban being lifted. “I feel like I’m dreaming,” one excited superhero fan wrote. “I have missed you so much,” another said.

Meanwhile, other Marvel fans asked if the previously banned movies could also be released. “Can you also re-release Spider-Man and Doctor Strange?” one person wrote via BBC News. It remains to be seen if their wishes will be granted.