DISNEY’s new Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales film grossed US$66 million over its three-day weekend opening in China, making it one of the most successful releases in the country’s film history.
This came despite concerns over censorship due to the film’s featuring of a “ghost ship” – China’s communist party’s censorship guidelines prohibit “promoting cults or superstition.” Pirates was released simultaneously on May 23 in both the US and China.
Local data from Ent Group shows that the film grossed US$25.3 million on Sunday alone across the mainland, the first day of the Dragon Boat Festival public holiday, reported Variety.
It is in the Top 20 of all time highest grossing films for first weekend release in China, however is still significantly behind Furious 8, which was released in April. Pirates performed better than the past two editions of the franchise combined.
While the latest edition might have been a success story, the Pirates franchise has a history of vexing Chinese censors.
Back in 2007, China also censored part of the Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End film for “vilifying and defacing the Chinese.”
According to Xinhua news agency, the depiction of Chinese pirates was “still in line with Hollywood’s old tradition of demonising the Chinese.”
Last year, Ghostbusters and a South Korean film called Train to Busan about zombies were both banned from release in China, reports the Financial Times.