As Marvel Studios readies its 28th feature film release with director Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), China has officially banned the upcoming movie in Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, eradicating millions of ticket sales from their thousands of theaters across the country.
Following his starring turn in Jon Watts’ Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) alongside Tom Holland (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Benedict Cumberbatch is back in his second solo feature with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness from writer Michael Waldron. The horror sequel to director Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange (2016) pits Cumberbatch’s Dr. Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange against the Multiverse.
Seemingly tackling his own spell cast for Holland’s Peter Parker in last year’s record-breaking Spidey blockbuster, Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange will team up with Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), newcomer Xochitl Gomez (America Chavez/Miss America), Benedict Wong (Wong), and potentially multiple Variants of himself including Defender Strange and Supreme Strange. Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Michael Stuhlbarg will also reprise their roles as Dr. Christine Palmer, Karl Mordo/Baron Mordo, and Nicodemus West, respectively.
A recent synopsis from an overseas movie theater chain suggested that the true villain of the MCU movie would be an evil Doctor Strange Variant, but not the Doctor Strange Supreme Marvel fans encountered in the animated series, What If…? last summer, based on the Marvel Universe comic book series of the same name.
With massive ticket sales already boosting the former Sorcerer Supreme’s success five-fold from the first Doctor Strange movie, all eyes are on this huge follow-up to Spider-Man: No Way Home. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is said to be on par with its MCU predecessor in which the former brought back Sony’s Spider-Man actors, Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) and Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man).
For this latest Marvel Phase Four movie, the Illuminati are said to be present possibly teasing the MCU arrival of the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards and Professor Charles Xavier/Professor X — Patrick Stewart has been cast after all. Fans can also expect the live-action debut of Marvel Zombies, Variants of Captain Marvel, and classic Marvel Comics characters like Shuma-Gorath, although here the tentacled beast is named Gargantos following a copyright issue. Rumors of a Variant of Tony Stark/Iron Man played by Tom Cruise have recently been quashed.
While fans across the globe are anxiously awaiting Doctor Strange’s fight against the Multiverse and the blockbuster-billing of Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. China has officially banned the Marvel sequel, ridding the former Sorcerer Supreme’s chance at box office domination.
World Box Office Analyst, Oliver Chen (@OLIVERCHENZ1) shared the news on Twitter:
It’s offical [sic: official] #DoctorStrange is Banned in China
It's offical#DoctorStrange is Banned in China.
— OliverChen (@OLIVERCHENZ1) April 29, 2022
China has apparently banned Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness due to its anti-Chinese Communist Party message caught briefly during a scene in the movie. During a fight sequence, a copy of The Epoch Times, a multi-language publication that opposes the CCP, can be seen on a newsstand. While only a minor detail, Chinese officials have cracked down on The Walt Disney Company and Marvel Studios recently, so it comes as no surprise to many that the Phase Four sequel has been shut out too.
There has been no MCU movie shown in China since Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) almost three years ago. Even with an appetite for superheroes — Avengers: Endgame (2019) posted a major box office in China — the country has not released any Marvel content for years. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) was not released, seemingly due to leading man Simu Liu’s resurfaced comments about China, while, similarly, director Chloé Zhao’s Eternals (2021) missed out on a Chinese release, again for resurfaced interview comments relating to the country.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the only country that has banned Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It was recently confirmed that Saudi Arabia will not show the Marvel film due to its LGBTQ+ content.
Even with entire countries shutting out the forthcoming release, the Doctor Strange sequel is still on to make millions at the box office, with reports indicating a massive $300 million opening weekend.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness releases on May 6, 2022.
Have you got your ticket to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Let us know in the comments down below!