Sony’s Ghostbusters reboot won’t be answering the call in China.
EW has confirmed that the paranormal action-comedy was not officially submitted to Chinese regulators for approval and therefore will not be released in the world’s second-largest film market. (A quota system currently allows 34 Hollywood movies into China each year.)
A Sony spokesperson declined to comment on the situation, but movies with supernatural elements have been known to run afoul of China’s official censorship guidelines, which technically forbid movies that “promote cults or superstition.” In 2006, Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was banned in the Middle Kingdom for its depiction of ghosts (and cannibalism), and last year Legendary Pictures’ gothic romance Crimson Peak missed out on a Chinese release.
Market considerations may have also factored into the decision not to submit Ghostbusters for Chinese approval. According to an unnamed Chinese film executive quoted by the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the Ghostbusters news, many Chinese filmgoers have not seen the original movies and aren’t familiar with the franchise.
The new Ghostbusters is directed by Paul Feig and stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate McKinnon as a squad of wraith hunters protecting New York City. The film opens Friday in the U.S.