The last Marvel movie to release in China was Spider-Man: Far From Home back in 2019. After that, the country completely shut out Marvel films from Chinese cinemas.
To this day, no one knows exactly why they did this, although it probably has something to do with a series of PR flaps. First, Black Widow didn’t portray Communism in a very flattering light. That’s strike one so far as the Chinese Communist Party goes. Then Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings star Sima Liu made comments critical of the Chinese government. After that, it was Eternals director Chloé Zhao. Those were strikes two and three, and the blockade hasn’t lifted since.
Until now! Deadline reports that China has scheduled two Marvel films for release in February: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever will come out on February 7 while Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will release on February 17, the same time it comes out in North America.
Marvel movies will return to China
I’m sure Disney will be mightily pleased to have that revenue stream back. China is one of the biggest markets for film in the world, and it hurt their bottom line to lose it.
Just like with the start of the ban, we’re not sure why China is ending it; the CCP has never been upfront about why it makes the decisions it does. But we can make a pretty good guess: the Chinese box office was down in 2022 by 36%, with few Hollywood movies getting through. Avatar: The Way of Water came out in the region and did quite well at the end of the year. The CCP may have a grudge against Marvel, but they also want the revenue that releasing Marvel movies in Chinese theaters can bring in. In the end, that won out.
Or at least that’s my read on it. In either case, the MCU is worldwide once again.