NO TIME TO DIE, DUNE to Hit China Box Office After Passing Censorship Laws

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NO TIME TO DIE, DUNE to Hit China Box Office After Passing Censorship Laws

By Movieguide® Staff

Although the future release date for the upcoming James Bond movie, NO TIME TO DIE, has yet to be confirmed, news that it passed newly instated censorship laws in China provides Hollywood studios with hope for future overseas success. 

The blockbuster, initially supposed to hit theaters in Nov. 2019, has experienced delay after delay. For a movie with a budget of around $200 million, the prospect of earning additional ticket sales in a struggling market could encourage a confirmed release date. 

Notably, the highly anticipated DUNE also passed censorship regulations and will receive a release in China. 

Variety reported

China is one of the most important overseas markets for the Bond franchise, and was the highest grossing overseas territory for its last instalment, “Spectre,” other than the U.K. That film, also starring Craig, made $881 million worldwide, $84 million of which came from China. China was the fourth largest oversea territory for “Skyfall,” which earned $59 million there.

China’s box office, which easily surpassed the U.S. market at the height of the pandemic, could provide a substantial contribution to the overall success of upcoming blockbusters. 

However, the new censorship laws in China, which recently extended to Hong Kong, could narrow the playing field for some American-made movies. 

Movieguide® previously reported

The added pressure of censorship from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on foreign and domestic movies solidifies their control over a large portion of the global box office. 

“With the blessing of the Communist government, the Hong Kong authorities have changed school curriculums, pulled books off library shelves and moved to overhaul elections. The police have arrested pro-democracy activists and politicians as well as a high-profile newspaper publisher,” NYT reported. “And in the arts, the law has created an atmosphere of fear.”

The new guidelines read: “When considering the effect of the film as a whole and its likely effect on the persons likely to view the film, the censor should have regard to the duties to prevent and suppress act or activity endangering national security.”

The vague guidelines offer the CCP better control of what is released to the public and what is not. However, the new rules show a particular emphasis on movies that claim to adhere to real-life events, such as a project that “purports to be a documentary” or highlights “real events with immediate connection to the circumstances in Hong Kong.”