Sony reportedly refused demands at the end of last year from Chinese film regulators to cut scenes with the Statue of Liberty out of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
The Chinese Communist Party’s content regulations are extremely strict. For films to be allowed into China, they must first be approved by China’s Propaganda Department. According to Puck, Chinese regulators reviewed the latest Spider-Man movie and returned with a single requirement: cut the Statue of Liberty from the end of the film.
This was a huge, virtually impossible request given the prominence the landmark plays in the film’s final battle between all three Spideys and assorted super villains. Sony refused.
China’s film regulators altered their request: Minimize the statue, darken the lighting to make her less prominent, and cut those too “patriotic” shots of Holland standing atop the Statue of Liberty’s crown. (Related: Did China Just Signal That It’s On The Brink Of War?)
Sony ultimately rejected this request. As a result, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was not released in China, and Sony lost out on a projected $170 million-$340 million, according to CNBC. At the Chinese box office, previous Tom Holland Spider-Man movies grossed $116 million and $200 million.
At a time where most of Hollywood caves to China’s censorship demands a Japanese company refused to do so on behalf of America
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) May 4, 2022
Sony also stood behind Quentin Tarantino’s choice to cut Bruce Lee’s appearance in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which resulted in a cancelation of the movie’s release in China.
China has not allowed the release of a Marvel movie since the second Tom Holland Spider-Man film in 2019. Despite being denied a Chinese release, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” still became one of the highest grossing films of all time.