It might have taken an awfully long time but it would seem that the world’s second-largest theatrical market is finally open to Marvel Studios. It has been over three and a half years since Avengers: Endgame aired in theatres across China in 2019. However, upon the theatrical debut of Black Widow, the film and Marvel were placed on a defacto ban ever since. In what will certainly be viewed as good news by Marvel Studios and Walt Disney, two of its sequels, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will be released in Chinese theaters in February.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever which had been released in theatres across the globe since November 2022 will begin showing on February 7, followed by the unfurling of Marvel’s latest offering in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania which will hit theatres there on February 17 which is the same date as the US. This most definitely will prove to be a boost for Marvel in terms of ticket sales which they have lost out on from this region over the duration of the ban. The exact reasons for the imposition of the ban by Chinese regulators have never clearly been stated, which has caused speculation to swirl as to the motive behind the move. Some of the speculated reasons included comments made by director Chloé Zhao wherein she criticized her home country as well as China looking to perhaps prioritize local content.
Despite having had a good number of its Phase 4 releases put on a blacklist by China, the studio shared the surprising, yet pleasing news on its social media accounts for the country. It sets aside the fears that many perhaps might have had that there would not be a Marvel film released in China again. China is not the only nation, however, to have banned or restricted Marvel productions in recent times. A number of Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, had restricted the release of The Eternals within their borders after they had requested a number of edits to the film which were rejected by the studio.
The return of Marvel movies to China will be huge for the studio as it would represent a chance for even better performances at the box office. Some of the films which sadly were caught in the eye of the storm, and did not earn a release include The Eternals, Black Widow, Spider-Man: No Way Home, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder. The release of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will also serve as a means to gauge the Chinese population’s desire for Marvel productions.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania flies into cinemas on February 17.