While we await the verdict on the film from our Ross Hughes, here’s some news that will bring a smile to those fans of the 1984 Ghostbusters who hate the idea of this remake, and the approach they’ve taken with it. It seems that Paul Feig’s controversial remake could be banned in China, which is a big deal considering that China has become one of the biggest markets for Hollywood films, so much so that some productions are deliberately emphasising the country and Chinese characters in scripts, while Need For Speed and Pacific Rim, while only doing average business in the US, were such hits in China that they’re getting sequels, the former entirely Chinese-made. Therefore Ghostbusters not being released in China will severely dent it’s box office.
The official reason being given for this is that any foreign film playing in China has to get an okay from the state-controlled film board, and their official guidelines ban films that “promote cults or superstition.” Crimson Peak and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest are two other fillms that were denied entry under the same requirements. Sony actually made some effort to appease the Chinese censors by giving Ghostbusters a Chinese title that translates to Super Power Dare Die Team as opposed to Ghost Catcher Dare Die Team, which is what the original is called there.
Now reports differ as to what exactly is going on. The Hollywood Reporter makes it sound like the film’s already been denied, although their sources say the film hasn’t officially been submitted yet. Variety and Deadline say that Ghostbusters has not yet screened for Chinese censors, but suggest that Sony is expecting a rejection. One Chinese executive also says that there’s “a lack of interest”, the two earlier films not being widely seen and the premise apparently not being attractive.
I haven’t seen the film yet – am doing so tonight – but I can’t help but chuckle at all this.