Yesterday, we reported that Suicide Squad cost $175 million and that it would need to earn $750-800 million just to break even. While the film is tracking for a huge opening weekend, it will be interesting to see if the film has legs in the face of negative reviews from critics and possibly audiences. The movie needs all the help it can get, but it doesn’t look like it will be receiving any from the Chinese market.
According to THR, it’s unlikely that the film will get a release in China due to its dark content. Warner Bros. hoped it could get past the ratings board since Suicide Squad is PG-13, but “China Film Group, the state-backed distributor that handles the import of all foreign films, hasn’t put the movie on its internal release calendar, which is typically set at least two months in advance.”
China doesn’t have a ratings system; instead, it has a censorship board that determines if a film is appropriate or inappropriate for Chinese audiences based on a film’s content. That content can range from the innocuous, like Ghostbusters being banned because it has ghosts, to moral condemnation, which is what the thinking appears to be with Suicide Squad. Even though Warner Bros. retitled the film, “Special Task Force X” for China, the movie appears to run afoul of the official guidelines, which states, “propagating passive or negative outlook on life, worldview and value system” is verboten.
While I’m not a fan of Suicide Squad, that’s a bit of a bad rap for the movie. One of the problems with the film is that it doesn’t go far enough in showing that these are bad guys. They’re rogues, and if Guardians of the Galaxy can get released in China (where it made almost $100 million), then Suicide Squad should be allowed.
As it stands, it looks like if fans in China want to see the DCEU’s latest picture, they’ll have to see it in another country.