20th Century Fox's Deadpool is already shaping up to be one of this year's early hits, arriving in theaters February 12. Even if the domestic release is successful, the superhero adventure's international box office prospects were tempered this weekend, with The Hollywood Reporter revealing that the movie will not be released in China. Reports coming out of China revealed the country's government has denied Deadpool's release due to graphic language, violence and nudity.
Last week, we reported that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has given Deadpool an R rating for "strong violence and language throughout, sexual content and graphic nudity." The move didn't come as a surprise, since star Ryan Reynolds said in the past that he would fight for an R rating. Back in September 2014, a report surfaced that claimed 20th Century Fox figured out how to get a PG-13 rating, without losing the "soul" of Deadpool, but it was later revealed that the project hadn't determined yet which rating it would aim for.
China's censorship group often works together with Hollywood productions to create different cuts of R-rated movies for Chinese release. However, sources claim this wasn't possible in this case, because removing the offending materials would cause plot problems. We also reported last week that a petition was started for the studio to simultaneously release a PG-13 cut along with the R-rated cut when Deadpool hits theaters next month, but if there is too much "offending" material that can't be cut due to plot reasons, it seems this may not happen.
China has now grown to become the second largest market in the world, behind the U.S., and superhero movies often fare quite well in the country. Last summer, Avengers: Age of Ultron earned a whopping $240 million in China alone, with other Marvel titles such as Ant-Man ($105.4 million) and Guardians of the Galaxy ($96.4 million) have also fared well in the country. We'll have to wait and see how this decision affects Deadpool's worldwide box office tally.
Based upon Marvel Comics' most unconventional anti-hero, Deadpool tells the origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. Ryan Reynolds stars as the title character, with a supporting cast that includes Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Olesia Shewchuk, Style Dayne, Rachel Sheen and Dan Zachary. Tim Miller makes his directorial debut with Deadpool, working from a script by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. What do you think about China's decision to ban Deadpool?