International Marvel fans rejoice! The nationwide ban that has affected MCU films for years is finally being lifted, with premiere dates set for the latest Phase Four installments.
China has finally lifted the unofficial nationwide ban that has affected the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years, as the latest MCU installments, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania, have received official premiere dates in The Middle Kingdom.
Per Variety, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — which had its global premiere in November and is set to debut on Disney Plus soon — will open in China on February 7. The Black Panther sequel will be followed by the premiere of Ant-Man and The Wasp: Quantumania on February 17, the same date the sequel opens in America and the United Kingdom.
The Black Panther and Ant-Man sequels will be the first Marvel films to hit Chinese theaters since Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home debuted in 2019, racking up a jaw-dropping $632M and $198M, respectively in China. Marvel movies have proven extremely popular in China, with Black Panther grossing $105M and Ant-Man and the Wasp earning $121M at the local box office, a massive success that the latest MCU movies will most likely replicate.
China has never officially explained the reasons for the years-long ban, leaving room for speculation regarding Chinese regulations. EuroNews mentions the trade war tensions between the US and China and the nationalistic policy stance under President Xi Jinping, as well as his repressive tightening of control over civil society as the main reason for the ban.
However, it’s no secret that the censorship in the country can be extreme, setting up barriers for films that portray members of the LGBTQIA+ community and mention same-sex relationships, regardless of how brief the scenes are. This censorship has impacted Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder, along with Disney’s Strange World, which struggled at the global box office.
Regardless of the reason for the unofficial ban, seeing the restrictions loosen up and allowing Marvel fans in China to enjoy the latest MCU installments is encouraging and makes us wonder if more films will soon be allowed into Chinese theaters for viewers to enjoy.
What do you think of the nationwide ban on MCU films in China? Let us know in the comments below!