From Shang-Chi to Eternals and Venom, has the Chinese market already got enough of Marvel?
Published: Nov 25, 2021 11:56 PM
Fans are shown at a special screening Marvel Studio's <em>Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings</em> at El Capitan Theatre on September 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: VCG

Fans are shown at a special screening Marvel Studio's Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings at El Capitan Theatre on September 02, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: VCG

Following the new Venom movie, Marvel's future in the Chinese mainland looks unclear for its poor reputation caused by the shackles of "political correctness," as it has been more than 2 years since Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) released its last movie in the mainland, Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Currently, there are no signs that Marvel's latest movies, Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Spider-Man: No Way Home, will be released in the Chinese mainland. Venom was originally scheduled to be released in 2020 but because of the pandemic it was just launched in North America in October, 2021. While the Spider-man movie franchise was so eager to seize the mainland market, this time it followed the same fate as its Marvel predecessors.

Could any of the box office blockbusters, including Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, Venom and Spider-Man have any chance to be screened in the Chinese mainland? The Global Times took this opportunity to inquire with MCU but did not receive any specific comments over the issue.

According to news outlet Insider, industry experts believe that besides the repeated failure to release its movies in the Chinese mainland, Marvel has its own problems in movie productions. Setting aside the controversial issue of Fu Manchu's image in Shang-Chi and the new Spider-Man which has an undetermined future in the mainland, Eternals and Venom frequently have failed to be released in the world's largest movie market.

Eternals, which has been played in theaters in North America for over a month, has been under fire among Chinese fans because of a news report about its director Chloe Zhao.

According to the Insider, Zhao fought to keep in the movie a controversial scene where the main character blames himself for creating the technology that caused the tragedy of the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945. This event plays an important part in the victory of China's Anti-Japanese War and  Zhao wanted it to be part of the story.

"As a Chinese director, if you really want to mourn the destruction of a war, why do you have to choose the atomic bomb over Hiroshima?" a moviegoer surnamed Ji told the Global Times.

"This is the question of opinion over such issue. As a Chinese,  Zhao's position is chaotic when it comes to these things. And Chinese fans have every reason to be dissatisfied with the movie," Shi Wenxue, a d film critic based in Beijing, told the Global Times.

Another problem is that both Eternals and Venom "excessively pursue political correctness" and "rigidly" please the audience, according to the Insider. For instance, as LGBTQ+ awareness has become a "hot issue" that cannot be avoided, it is depicted in movie characters as Andy Serkis, director of Venom, confirmed with media  the "love affair" between the two main characters Eddie and Venom.

"If it becomes tool scrammed in the movie to please people, then such an excessive pursuit of 'political correctness' will only restrict the originality of Hollywood movies," said Shi.

Eternals has been slammed with the worst reviews ever for a MCU movie with a score of 48 percent in Rotten Tomatoes, the lowest of any of the 26 titles the MCU's franchise according to The Hollywood Reporter.

As for the new Venom movie, Rotten Tomatoes gave it  a score of 59 percent "obviously proving the fact," added Shi.

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