Ghostbusters is set to have its global release on Friday, but the movie won't be coming to China for one very specific reason, according to The Hollywood Reporter: people simply aren't interested in it.
According to the Reporter, one Chinese executive said it wasn't an attractive buy for Chinese audiences who didn't watch the first or second movies when they were released. Unlike the reasoning behind the first two, which were in line with China's censorship laws that prohibit films that promote cults or anything to do with the supernatural, Chinese executives said it was a hard sell for an audience who didn't grow up with the franchise.
Although Sony hasn't commented on the ruling — the studio hasn't received official word from the Chinese government over whether certain scenes in the film would even be approved — one source told the magazine that the studio wasn't worried about it. While China still has heavy censorship laws in place when it comes to what films can be shown to its audiences, they're not as severe as they once were. One of the biggest films that played in China this year, Warcraft, encourages and promotes the use of magic which would technically violate the country's censorship laws.
The decision to not show Ghostbusters to its audiences contradicts the country’s shift in film distribution, which has opened up in the last few years to allow for more science-fiction and fantasy based films. Studios in China, like Wakanda, have begun working on their own films that center around magic and witchcraft in an effort to bring more money into the country’s entertainment industry. Wakanda, for example, will help Legendary Entertainment produce the sequel to Pacific Rim and other studios are looking into new potential blockbusters that border science-fiction in an attempt to get Chinese audiences out to the cinema more often.
Ghostbusters, which has been at the center of controversy since the film was first announced, has received mixed reviews from critics, but the Reporter's source said the decision not to bring the film to China has nothing to do with that.
Ghostbusters hits theaters this Friday.