Marvel Studios of the Walt Disney Company announced on Jan. 17 that the sequels for “Black Panther” and “Ant-Man” would be released in Chinese theatres.
According to a post on Chinese social media platform Weibo by Marvel, "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" will start screening in Chinese cinemas on Feb. 7.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” sequel premiered in the rest of the world in November 2022.
“Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” will be released on Feb. 17.
This is the third movie of the Ant-Man series and would be released on the same day in China and in the United States.
This is the first time in almost four years that China has allowed for the screening of Marvel movies in local cinemas, ever since the release of “Spider-Man: Far from Home” in July 2019.
Restrictions on foreign films
According to Reuters, it remains unknown why Chinese officials did not permit the screening of other Marvel movies such as “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and "Eternals".
Foreign movies are subjected to tight controls in China and there is an annual limit to how many can be screened.
The China Film Administration reportedly makes decisions on whether a foreign movie can be screened in local cinemas, according to the BBC.
Chinese netizens react positively
Marvel’s announcement was well-received by Chinese netizens on Weibo, with many leaving comments such as:
“Can we also have a re-release of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange?”
“Do you know how hard it was to survive without you (Marvel movies)?”
“Ahhhh I’ve missed you (Marvel movies)”
"Ahh, Marvel I love you!! I watched Black Panther 10 times"
Thawing of relations?
According to Box Office Mojo cited by AFP, “Black Panther” raked in US$105 million (S$138 million) in China in 2018, while the second movie of Ant-Man series took in US$121 million (S$160 million).
China is one of the biggest movie markets in the world and Disney would have the opportunity to earn back its missed revenue from the Chinese market.
Recently, James Cameron's highly anticipated "Avatar" sequel "Avatar: The Way of Water" was allowed to be released in China, and this was interpreted as a sign of the country warming to the Hollywood scene, according to The Guardian.
Top images via Weibo/Marvel Studios