In a remake of the 80’s hit, a team of female ghostbusters take on paranormal activity in New York city.
March 10, 2016
Ghostbusters may be poised to become a blockbuster hit around the world, but audiences in China are likely to miss out on seeing the film.
Contrary to the film’s iconic title song lyric – “I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghost” – the Chinese authorities still have certain superstitions related to ghosts and supernatural themes.
Facing ban: Ghostbusters (from left) Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig and Kate McKinnon.
Those cultural taboos may cost the film a lucrative release in the Chinese market, the second biggest film market in the world.
The US entertainment industry trade newspaper The Hollywood Reporter has reported that Chinese authorities have denied the Ghostbusters reboot a release in China.
The paper noted that official Chinese censorship guidelines prohibit films which “promote cults or superstition”.
China has strict cultural taboos surrounding the supernatural.
The clause has been used previously to deny American films a Chinese release, most famously 2006’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.
American horror films also have historic difficulties securing a Chinese release.
But after The Hollywood Reporter’s story was published, conflicting reports materialised in other media outlets.
The film industry website Deadline.com said the film had not yet been submitted to Chinese authorities, quoting sources at Sony, the studio which owns the franchise.
Deadline said the studio was not planning to submit the Ghostbusters reboot to China’s cultural authorities until the coming week.
Sony’s proposed Chinese title for the film is translated as Super Power Dare Die Team.
That tweaks slightly the Chinese title of the 1984 original, which translated as Ghost Catcher Dare Die Team.
Film industry observers noted that the removal of the word “ghost” from the title was a an attempt by Sony to give an early concession to Chinese cultural taboos in the hope of securing release.
The reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise, directed by Paul Feig, stars Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.
The original film, released in 1984, grossed almost $US300 million at the US box office.
The sequel, 1989’s Ghostbusters II, grossed just over $US200 million.