SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME - Chinese Regulators Had A Ridiculous Request Of The Film's Third Act
In December, there was much debate on whether Spider-Man: No Way Home would be granted a then-coveted China release. It didn't happen, and we now have details on what transpired between Sony and China.
While Spider-Man: No Way Home once seemed like a safer bet than Venom: Let There Be Carnage and the Disney-backed Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals to receive a China release date, it ultimately wasn't granted approval, and we now have more information on what transpired between the country and Sony Pictures.
According to the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter and Puck founder Matthew Belloni, Chinese regulators made a ridiculous request to Sony after viewing the Jon Watts-directed film for the first time in late 2021: "Delete the Statue of Liberty from the ending of the film."
As everyone who's seen No Way Home knows, the film's entire third act featuring all three Spider-Men (Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield) takes place on and around the renovated Statue of Liberty, meaning removing the iconic American landmark from the film was simply not possible, which is why Sony bosses Tom Rothman and Tony Vinciquerra immediately gave them an emphatic no.
In an effort to reach some sort of compromise, China came back to them with a slightly less severe, but equally as outrageous request: minimize the sequence by cutting a "few of the more patriotic shots of Holland standing atop the crown, or dull the lighting so that Lady Liberty’s visage wasn’t so front-and-center."
Sony reportedly discussed this second ask, which suggests it could potentially have been done if push came to shove, but Rothman and Vinciquerra still quickly chose to pass even when they knew it meant a Chinese release would 100% be off the table. Their final decision was made easier by the fact that the regulators would still not guarantee the film would be granted a release even with the proposed changes.
Their gambit paid off, since even without China, No Way Home was still a worldwide phenomenon, grossing nearly $1.9 billion globally and counting, and swinging all the way to becoming the sixth-highest grossing film of all time. The added box office boost from China, where its predecessors brought in $116 million and $200 million, respectively, would certainly have been welcomed by the studio, but it was obviously not worth destroying the film's epic climax, or the global media firestorm that would've followed had Sony acquiesced to their insane demands.
What this means for the future of comic book movies in China remains to be seen, but it doesn't seem like Marvel will be returning any time in the near future since Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be the sixth consecutive Marvel release to not be granted a release in the Middle Kingdom. What happens with Thor: Love and Thunder remains to be seen, but we expect the Taika Waititi-directed sequel to face a similar fate.
Tom Holland headlines the billion-dollar blockbuster with a supporting cast consisting of Zendaya as MJ, Jacob Batalon as Ned Leeds, Marisa Tomei as Aunt May, Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson, Angourie Rice as Betty Brant, Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan, Hannibal Buress as Coach Wilson, Martin Starr as Mr. Harrington, J.B. Smoove as Mr. Dell, J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson, Benedict Wong as Master Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange.
Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Andrew Garfield (Peter Parker/Spider-Man), Willem Dafoe (Green Goblin), Alfred Molina (Doctor Octopus), Jamie Foxx (Electro), Thomas Haden Church (Sandman), Rhys Ifans (Lizard), and Charlie Cox (Matt Murdock) reprise their roles from the previous Spider-Man films and the Daredevil TV series, respectively.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital HD!