Marvel's Shang-Chi And Eternals Release In China Reportedly Unlikely

The odds of a theatrical release in China for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and The Eternals don't look especially high. The Chinese government has been limiting the release of imported films already, and the situation is reportedly compounded by years-old comments Simu Liu, which resurfaced recently in the media. The comments were critical of China, quoting his parents (who immigrated from the country to Canada). The situation has echoes of Eternals director Chloe Zhao, who made comments critical of China in 2013, and as a result had her film Nomadland banned as well.

Liu's comments came in 2017, when said that his parents had taught him growing up that China was a "third-world country" where people were dying of starvation. In 2013, Zhao called China "a place where there are lies everywhere."

Even without these comments, the odds of the Marvel movies getting released in China were fairly small. Virtually no Hollywood summer blockbusters were allowed a Chinese release this year. Marvel's Black Widow is one of a number of movies awaiting approval but ultimately not expected to release in China.

The Chinese market is potentially lucrative -- Free Guy has earned almost $70 million in the country -- and had been so influential with Marvel that there was reportedly a different cut of Iron Man 3 which was designed to appeal to the Chinese market.

In Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings, Shang-Chi must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. The movie stars Liu alongside Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, and Benedict Wong. Shang-Chi is in theaters now, having broken box office records over Labor Day Weekend.

The Eternals cast includes Angelina Jolie as Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Gemma Chan as Sersi, and Barry Keoghan as Druig. Kit Harington also stars as Dane Whitman, a.k.a. the Marvel Comics hero Black Knight.

According to the film's official synopsis, "Marvel Studios' Eternals welcomes an exciting new team of Super Heroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The epic story, spanning thousands of years, features a group of immortal heroes forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind's oldest enemy, The Deviants."

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Eternals opens in theaters on November 5th.