Why Black Panther 2 won’t be released in China

Michaela Coel in Black Panther 2.Disney/Marvel

Black Panther 2 and Black Adam are both unlikely to be released in China, though for very different reasons.

China has banned Marvel movies from its cinemas. Some believe there’s a blanket ban on MCU products. Others think it’s happening on a case-by-case basis, with comments Simu Liu and Chloé Zhao previously made about the country believed to be responsible for the lack of Shang-Chi and Eternals in Chinese cinemas.

Earlier this year, Thor: Love and Thunder is thought to have run afoul of Chinese censors due to the depiction of a gay character, while another Disney movie – Pixar’s Lightyear – suffered the same fate for featuring a same-sex kiss.

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever hit screens worldwide this past weekend, but a China release is looking unlikely.

Why is Black Panther 2 banned in China?

The Hollywood Report says Beijing rarely announce or explain decisions regarding foreign movies, but have several Chinese sources stating Black Panther: Wakanda Forever has “little chance of winning approval at this stage.”

The trade paper explains: “Censors are believed to have rejected the film due to the brief depiction of openly gay characters, in this case, the Wakandan warrior Aneka (played by Michaela Coel) and the Dora bodyguard Ayo (Florence Kasumba), who are shown to be in a relationship.”

The Black Panther sequel has just opened to $180 million in the US, and $330 million globally.

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Why won’t Black Adam be released in China?

The Black Adam situation is a little different, with THR stating: “The leading theory for Black Adam’s ban is the presence in the film of Pierce Brosnan as the heroic character Kent Nelson/Doctor Fate. Roughly two years ago, Brosnan posted a 19-year-old photo of his family posing with the Dalai Lama, while offering his congratulations to the spiritual leader on his 85th birthday.

“The Dalai Lama is viewed by Beijing as a dangerous separatist and entertainment figures ranging from Lady Gaga to Richard Gere and Keanu Reeves have seen their work censored in China over past statements or gestures of support for the Tibetan leader.”

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Black Adam stars Dwayne Jonhson, whose films normally hit big in the region, with Skyscraper grossing $98 million in China, and Hobbs & Shaw making a whopping $201 million.

You can read our review of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever here.