Why Pirates of the Caribbean 4 Was Banned In China | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

Posted: March 18, 2021 at 12:40 am

Pirates of the Caribbean's fourth installment On Stranger Tides narrowly avoided a ban in China, but why did the blockbuster earn the ire of censors?

Much like the third installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the fourth film On Stranger Tides wasinitially almost banned in Chinabut censors objected to this 2011 sequel fora different, odder reason. Beginning in 2003 with The Ring helmer Gore Verbinskis surprise sleeper hit The Curse of the Black Pearl, the Pirates of the Caribbean movies soon became one of the twenty-first centurys most enduringly popular blockbuster franchises despite the middling quality of later installments.

The hugepopularityof series star Johnny Depps Jack Sparrow ensured that audiences flocked to see the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels, but not everyone was thrilled with the swashbuckling adventure movies. The third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, the original trilogy closer At Worlds End, was nearly denied a release in China due to the movies depiction of the region as a crime-ridden underworld.

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ChowYun-Fats depictionof Captain Sao Feng as a villainous murderer ensured that Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, like many blockbusters and almost all James Bond movies, was almost notgranted a release in China. However, the next film in the series, 2011s belated sequel On Stranger Tides, didntcenter on China at all and still managed to earn the ire of the films censorship board, with thePirates of the Caribbean installmentalmost being denied a release. Unlike the third films ban (and a lot of blockbuster censorship), this was not actually due to a political issue. The Chinese censors didnt care forOn Stranger Tides' plot frequently referencing ghosts, the occult, and the afterlife, something would later contribute to numerous high-profile flops like R.I.P.D and Ghostbusters.

While its not common for Chinese censors to ban movies for flippantly depicting ghosts, revival, and occult practices, its not unheard of given the conservative views held by some of the countrys citizens. More often than not, movies thatcenter around ghosts and the afterlife are given the option of a Chinese cinematic release but typically underperform due to widespread public disinterest in the themes. This was eventually the caseforOn Stranger Tides, as the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean outing wasgranteda cinema release but nearlybanned, perhaps due to the third film leaving a lingering distaste for the countrys censors.

That said, it was likely not impossible for Chinese viewers to get their hands on a copy of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tideseven before its eventual release, as the countrys booming pirate DVD trade (ironically) meant few films were unavailable for viewingeven if they didnot secure a formal theatrical release. The fact thatPirates of the Caribbean'sthird sequelOn Stranger Tides was not outright banned, along with the next years loosening on James Bond censorship (with 2012s Skyfall being edited rather than denied a release), illustrated the increasingly lax approach to censorship in the nation.

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Why Pirates of the Caribbean 4 Was Banned In China | Screen Rant - Screen Rant

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