David Ayer's latest superhero movie, Suicide Squad, has hit theaters worldwide this weekend but it is unlikely to be released in China. Due to China's strict censors, Water Bros. has not received a release date in the world's No.2 movie market.
Information about the issue is scarce but according to insiders, China Film Group, a state-backed distributor that deals with importing foreign movies in the country did not put Suicide Squad on its internal release calendar. A Chinese executive who is familiar with the matter said the group does not think that Suicide Squad is not a good film to release in the country.
Chinese DC fans have reportedly speculated for months about whether Suicide Squad would pass Beijing's strict censor committee. Apart from a PG-13 rating, Warner Bros. changed Suicide Squad's local language title, dropping the word "Suicide" and tweaking it to "Special Task Force X" to please the censors.
Although the changes raised hopes that the movie will get the green light from Chinese censors, many believed that the anarchic tone and dark plot would rub the censors the wrong way. According to official censorship guidelines, any story that "propagating passive or negative outlook on life, worldview and value system" will not be released for showing.
The Suicide Squad's script, which was written by Ayer, centers on a group of incarcerated super villains released by the US government to save the world from a supernatural threat.
THR noted that unlike the US, China does not have a rating classification system. As such, the government regulator may either approve or reject foreign films for all viewers regardless of age.
The Chinese box office is rapidly becoming an important part of the international distribution map for foreign films. Insiders speculate that if Suicide Squad does manage to get past the censors, the release date will be later than expected as regulators typically notify studios of local release dates 30 to 45 days in advance.