Chinese censors are still considering whether to allow the import and release of U.S. superhero film “Deadpool.”
“We have not yet heard back formally from the Film Bureau,” a 20th Century Fox spokesman in Asia told Variety. “The film is under consideration still. It is an R-rated movie in the States and we know that can be challenging in China. There are some [import] exemptions for this category, but they are the exception, rather than the rule.”
Earlier this week Chinese and international media picked up on a local blog posting on Weibo [social media], and reported that the film had been banned in the world’s second-largest movie market due to violence, nudity and graphic language.
The social media posting appears to have been premature and has since been removed from the Internet.
China has no need to do anything as dramatic as banning foreign films. It operates a quota system which limits to 34 per year the number of foreign films that are imported and distributed on revenue sharing terms. Those films it does not approve of on moral, political, or other grounds can simply be ignored and a quota slot allocated to another movie.
Fox this year has three Marvel franchise movies that it would like to get into China. Alongside “Deadpool,” it has “X-Men: Apocalypse” and the “X-Men” spinoff “Gambit.”
Most of the previous “X-Men” franchise movies have succeeded in getting quota slots in China. One that did not was “X-Men: First Class.” “Deadpool” is set to open Feb. 12 in the U.S. and in many major international markets including Australia, France, Germany, Russia and the U.K.
Ryan Reynolds, who portrayed the character in 2009’s “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” is starring. Tim Miller is directing the superhero film from a script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.
Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano and Brianna Hildebrand also star. Lauren Shuler Donner, Reynolds and Simon Kimburg are producing.
The talkative mercenary character, also known as Wade Wilson, was created by artist Rob Liefeld and writer Fabian Nicieza. He first appeared in print in 1991.
The movie’s origin story centers on Wilson being subjected to a rogue experiment in an effort to cure his cancer. The experiment leaves him with accelerated healing powers, disfigured skin, a dark sense of humor and an unstable mind — leading to Wilson trying to hunt down the man who botched the experiment.