‘Black Widow’ release delayed to avoid patriotic film-watching month:observers
Published: Jul 14, 2021 12:02 AM
Promotional material for Black Widow Photo: IC

Promotional material for Black Widow Photo: IC

The delayed release of Black Widow in the Chinese mainland might be due to the negative word-of-mouth over Marvel's controversial films Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals on Chinese social media, Chinese film observers said on Wednesday, adding that July is not a good time due to competition from patriotic films. 

Black Widow has become the highest grossing film in North America in the post-pandemic era, but its release in the Chinese mainland has yet to be announced.

Xiao Fuqiu, a film critic based in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Tuesday that there are both domestic and foreign reasons for this.

Domestically, there has been a special film schedule due to celebrations of the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and tribute films including 1921, The Pioneer and Chinese Doctors have made the schedule more crowded than in previous years.

Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan shows that Chinese Doctors topped the recent box office by grossing 469 million yuan ($72.5 million) as of Tuesday, followed by 1921 on 426 million yuan. 

"In a patriotic film-watching environment, an imported blockbuster like Black Widow would not fit so well in the schedule," said Xiao. 

Media reports have said that a total of 56 films are scheduled to be released in Chinese cinemas this summer holiday and most of them are homegrown films.

"Disney's distribution strategy shows that, at least for the Black Widow project, they care more about the North American film market than the Chinese market," Xiao said, adding that Disney chose to release Black Widow via streaming at the same time as in cinemas in order to minimize the risk from the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic in North America. Meanwhile, Disney also wants to continue the popularity of Marvel Universe dramas such as Vision and the Scarlet Witch and Loki on its own streaming media platform Disney Plus.

"July is not a perfect time for Black Widow but the film is still likely to be imported into the Chinese mainland due the high popularity of the Marvel superhero," said Xiao.

"Black Widow might be affected by Marvel's controversial films Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals. Some fans said the films insulted China and are not conducive to cultural exchanges," Shi Wenxue, a film critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals sparked anger among Chinese moviegoers as one of the characters originates from a racist character, Fu Manzhou, in the comics.