So far, none of the Marvel movies released this year has been released in China due to various reasons such as controversial past comments from its star or the director. The exclusion has affected their worldwide box office results as they missed their chance to earn from the biggest movie market in the world outside North America. Now, it looks like another Marvel movie will be having the same fate.
According to Variety, Venom: Let There Be Carnage might not also be getting a release in China due to star Tom Hardy's past comments during a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival back in 2012 that are considered "anti-China." During the event, he was asked whether he saw Marlon Brando as an influence in which he responded that he has only seen one movie of his. "The Tea Rising in Shanghai...the one where he played the Chinaman," he responded (although the correct title is The Teahouse of the August Moon).
In a subsequent interview with Vulture, he was asked to double down on his use of the term 'Chinaman.' in which he iterated, "I’ve seen Shanghai Teahouse of the Rising Sun, or whatever it’s called, where he plays the Chinaman." When he was asked if the casting choice was questionable, he said, "The thing is that it’s great, because you go, ‘Okay, everybody fucks up.'" He then called Mickey Rooney's yellowface in Breakfast at Tiffany's "great."
He added, "I mean to say: These are legends, and even legends are fallible. Reach for the stars and catch the moon! If I am duly compared to Marlon Brando at all, well, I can only think of The Teahouse of the Shanghai Noon, that they’re comparing me to that!"
Afterward, the interviewer praised the actor for being candid with his response. He answered back, "Mmm, well it won’t be [like this] when China rolls on us in fifteen years and we’ll all have to speak Cantonese. Then people will have to grow the fuck up, won’t they? Up to a trillion dollars in debt, then we actually realize that we really are in debt and that China’s a major creditor…"
The interviewer told the actor that he shouldn't say such things as they are talking in front of the festival's Chinese Pavilion. Hardy responded jokingly, "There’s more people in China than there are here. Who are we to stand in the way of what God wants, or whatever your concept of that is? No man can stop a tidal wave…It’s just the rise and collapse of civilizations! You face the fucking fear and you face it head on. Because it’s going to happen anyway, and it’s not a bad thing! It’s called evolution. How’s your Cantonese?"
The recently resurfaced past comments by Hardy are currently making rounds in Chinese online forums in which a lot of users called it insulting to their country. The videos have also spread there and have been viewed nearly 1.5 million times.
While it is not yet official that Venom: Let There Be Carnage won't be getting a China release, the recent controversy might be the nail on the coffin regarding its chances of getting a theatrical release in the country since a similar incident happened to both Eternals and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which are also not getting a release in the country. It is unknown though why the comments only resurfaced just recently.
Fortunately, it is not the case for Spider-Man: No Way Home which has been confirmed to be approved for release in China. There is no official release date yet, but it is rumored that it might possibly get released in the country around January. With that, it will be the only 2021 Marvel film to secure a release in China.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage is now available to watch on VOD.