“Ghostbusters” is unlikely to score a release in China, sources confirm to Variety.
It’s bad news for the $144 million comedy, which needs to do well globally to make back its hefty budget. Though “Ghostbusters” hasn’t officially been screened for Chinese officials, its subject matter will likely run afoul of the country’s censors, according to an insider. The state-controlled film board does not approve of films that promote cults or superstitious beliefs. In the past, movies that focus on the paranormal, such as last fall’s “Crimson Peak,” have been unable to secure a berth in the country.
To try to assuage censors, Sony has cooked up a new title for “Ghostbusters” — it’s now known as “Super Power Dare-to-Die Team.” China continues to be a critical source of revenues for major Hollywood blockbusters. It is expected to bypass the United States as the top market for film by 2017. This year alone, films such as “Warcraft” and “Zootopia” have made north of $200 million at the Chinese box office.
Domestically, “Ghostbusters” is suffering some fierce headwinds. Reviews have been solid, but the decision to reboot the series with a new cast that includes Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones, has been controversial. Sony projects a $38 million to $40 million debut in the U.S., though some box office tracking services are forecasting a launch that’s closer to $50 million.