Now, the news that Deadpool would be hitting our screens with a glorious, blood-soaked R-rating may have brought a considerable amount of joy to the Merc with a Mouth's fans (and action-loving gore-hounds everywhere), but it's looking increasingly likely that the move will have some pretty darned substantial consequences when it comes to the movie's box office returns.
While fears of a reduced take in the domestic market may be a little overblown — the majority of Deadpool's core demographic are likely going to be fully capable of getting in to an R-rated movie - it seems there's another, perhaps even larger, threat to the Merc's fiscal well-being. Specifically:
'Deadpool' Was Just Banned From China
Or rather (as these things tend to go in the nation once known as The Middle Kingdom), it has been denied a release there, thus prohibiting Chinese fans of the anti-hero from seeing the movie in theaters. Remind yourself of the red band trailer:
According to several Chinese sources, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) — the body in charge of deciding which international movies are approved for release in China — has decided that Deadpool contains far too much " violence, nudity and graphic language" to be screened in the country. With THR latterly confirming the news, it seems that Deadpool really won't be heading to China in the immediate short term.
The big question now, then?
What Gives, China?
After all, for those of us raised in countries with a complex ratings system for movies — one that allows for a full range of graphic maturity to hit the big screen — the idea of outright barring a movie from being screened seems... well, massively authoritarian.
Here's the thing, though:
With there being no rating system to speak of in China, there's no actual option for a movie to be limited to adult audiences in the way it (theoretically) will be in the U.S. and other markets. Add in the country's well-known cap on the number of movie imports, and Deadpool's inevitably subversive tone, and it actually makes a whole lot of sense that the movie didn't make it into theaters there.
Also, y'know, it's China, a nation in which authoritarianism is kind of the 'in' thing right now (and has been for the past 70 or so years).
In other words?
It Really Sucks That Deadpool Has Been Banned in China
...But it's surely an outcome that Fox will have been prepared for. After all, while Chinese authorities have often been willing to release substantially edited versions of movies deemed by them to be too graphic or offensive, there was always a solid chance that a movie largely defined by being as graphic and offensive as possible would struggle to get a release.
With that being the case, it seems likely that Fox will have planned accordingly — and that China's substantial box office potential won't have been part of the company's box office forecasting for Deadpool.
Whether the lack of a Chinese release — at a time where the country is growing ever closer to overtaking the U.S. as the world's largest movie market — will limit the number of R-rated blockbusters in future, though, may well still depend on how Deadpool does domestically.
So maybe a second viewing on the movie's opening weekend is in order after all...
What do you think?