‘Ghostbusters’ Won’t Be Released in China, Whose Communist-Era Censors Were Afraid of Some Ghosts

Movies that "promote cults or superstition" aren't allowed in Chinese theaters.
Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones in Ghostbusters

In news that will delight anyone who’s decided not to like “Ghostbusters” before actually seeing it, Paul Feig’s reboot of the beloved comedy has been denied a theatrical release in China due to an old censorship guideline. That’s bad news for its commercial prospects, as the nation of nearly 1.4 billion is the world’s second-largest film market after the United States and “Ghostbusters” cost approximately $144 million to produce.

READ MORE: Before They Were ‘Ghostbusters’: The Early, Maybe Embarrassing Roles of Our New Favorite Squad

Per the country’s Communist-era censorship protocols, movies that “promote cults or superstition” shan’t be distributed theatrically — which is to say, they were apparently afraid of some ghosts. The rule has typically only been applied to films portraying supernatural entities in a somewhat grounded manner, and “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” met the same fate 10 years ago,

READ MORE: Leslie Jones in ‘Ghostbusters’: This Is Not the Black Hero We Were Hoping to See

“It’s been confirmed that Ghostbusters won’t be coming to China, because they think it’s not really that attractive to Chinese audiences,” a Chinese executive tells the Hollywood Reporter. “Most of the Chinese audience didn’t see the first and second movies, so they don’t think there’s much market for it here.” Said executive apparently had no comment on whether censors were also worried about destroying moviegoers’ childhoods. “Ghostbusters” opens domestically this Friday, July 15.

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