According to reports, DC’s latest superhero film, Black Adam, has been banned in China, the single-largest overseas film market for Hollywood films. According to fan forums, the reason for the ban is cast member Pierce Brosnan’s previous remarks about Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama. Tibet and its autonomy are contentious issues in China, and public figures associated with the leader have been known to be shunned.
Dwayne Johnson plays the titular antihero in Black Adam. Since its initial release last month, the film has grossed over $200 million worldwide. The film stars Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate and includes a cameo appearance by Henry Cavill, who is reprising his role as Superman in the DCEU. The film has yet to be released in China, but there are hopes that it will do so later this year, increasing its global gross.
However, rumours about its ban in China began earlier this week on fan forums. On the forum Box Office Theory, an industry insider going by the alias Issac Newton stated that Black Adam will not be released in China. Someone later in the thread reasoned that the administration had decided not to grant
Pierce Brosnan praised the Dalai Lama and shared an anecdote about meeting him in an interview with GQ in October. This could be the reason for the shadow ban on Black Adam, as several other films have been barred from being released in China for similar reasons. However, no official announcement has been made in this regard.
China allows a limited number of foreign film releases each year, and given the country’s massive market, most major studios try to get their tentpole films released there. Aquaman earned $291 million in the country, accounting for 25% of the film’s worldwide earnings. For the same reason, DC and Warner Bros. would like to see Black Adam resolved.