(RoyalPatriot.com )- Disney CEO Bob Chapek discussed the “difficulty” of having films distributed in China, following reports that the current “Doctor Strange” picture will likely not be released in China due to an Epoch Times newspaper box in the film.
Chapek said the situation in China has been quite challenging from a commercial and political sense.
The CEO said Disney would keep submitting their films for distribution.
The second episode of the 2016 “Doctor Strange” franchise, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” was released in the United States on May 6. The film has done exceptionally well at the box office, making $213.6 million in the United States and $507.8 million worldwide.
During a combat sequence in the film, Doctor Strange fights a monster named Gargantos on the streets of New York while a yellow newspaper box sits in the backdrop. The Chinese characters for The Epoch Times’ Chinese-language version are on the box.
One of the movie trailers showed shots of the newspaper box during the same battle scene. There has long been concern that Disney will be unable to gain a Chinese distribution for the film, especially after China’s hardline state-run newspaper, the Global Times, lambasted Marvel in an editorial piece published on May 1.
The Chinese authorities have banned The Epoch Times’ English and Chinese-language websites, fearing that the paper’s unfiltered coverage of Chinese current events might threaten the Chinese Communist Party’s control. The Epoch Times consistently covers party infighting, human rights violations against ethnic minorities and religious groups, and, most recently, Chinese people’s outrage and disgust with the regime’s harsh COVID-19 regulations.
Fenton said that this latest development of The Epoch Times being recognized as one of the big stars in the movie is clearly putting a wrench in whatever type of opportunity they did have of breaking into that market.
Despite failures in the Chinese market, Chapek remains optimistic that Disney will perform well financially.
Chapek said Disney remains optimistic that even if they continue to have difficulty bringing titles into China, given the lower take rate they get at the box office in China than they do across the rest of the globe, it doesn’t prevent their success.
On Jan. 5, 2021, the US State Department broadcast an interview between then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and EpochTV’s “American Thought Leaders” program.
During a daily briefing the next day, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, slandered The Epoch Times as an “evil” media company. She also called Pompeo out for spreading “political diseases and political falsehoods.”
Several major Marvel films, including “Eternals,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” and “Black Widow,” have failed to launch in China in recent years.
The 2016 film “Doctor Strange” was released in China. It earned $677 million worldwide at the box office, with $109 million coming from China.