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Sony Refuses To Edit Out Statue of Liberty For Chinese Version of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME

Photo from IMDb

Sony Refuses To Edit Out Statue of Liberty For Chinese Version of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME

By Movieguide® Contributor

Sony refused to bow to China’s demand that they remove the Statue of Liberty from Marvel’s blockbuster movie, SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME. 

Chinese authorities asked that the landmark be removed from the movie before releasing it for distribution in their country. When Sony refused to delete it, China asked if they could limit the time the statue was onscreen. Sony refused again. 

NO WAY HOME did not end up in Chinese theaters. However, it’s unknown whether or not the Chinese censors blocked the release of the movie, or if Sony decided not to release it in the country. 

Sony’s refusal to edit NO WAY HOME for Chinese audiences is surprising, considering Hollywood has been changing their movies for years in order to fall in line with China’s demands. 

Even though NO WAY HOME was not released in China, the movie went on to make almost $2 billion worldwide, making it the sixth-highest movie release ever. 

Movieguide® previously reported on China’s censorship of Marvel movies:

Although China remained the top market for cinema in 2021, studios are struggling to gain approval due to the Chinese Communist Party’s strict rules against foreign movies.

Most notably, China denied all Marvel movies from their theaters in 2021, including BLACK WIDOW, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, and SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.

International markets continue to face varying degrees of restrictions, which is hurting the global box office. However, the goal is the same, get people to theaters safely.

An international distribution exec told Deadline: “Research is showing that the film experience is a lot safer than other social experiences out there. It’s our job to keep trying to surprise people, to get them to feel a heightened emotion so they can walk out of a theater feeling like when they see others in the same place they say, ‘Wow, isn’t that something? We experienced that all together.’ At home they know they’re not going to get that.”

While China remains steadfast in its ban on Marvel movies, many are asking, ‘why?’

USC professor and China expert Stanley Rosen added that it only takes one movie for the CCP to form a final verdict in China.

“Years ago, it was said, ‘If you’re a production company or a studio, in terms of what China thinks of you, you’re only as good as your worst film. You do one film that China doesn’t like, and none of your films are shown in China.’” Rosen said.

However, China’s focus on implementing its Communist ideologies will cripple its ability to maintain its title as the largest movie market in the world.

“They don’t need Hollywood as much as they used to, that’s very clear. But, they want to be the number one film market in the world and want to show themselves as a global power and not close off. That includes film, so they need to have Hollywood product to show that,” Rosen added. “The government follows what the Party wants, and there has been no signal that they should try and clear up relations with Hollywood.”