Fans were overjoyed to learn that the Tim Miller-directed, Ryan Reynolds-led Deadpool would be rated R. In fact, Fox’s anti-hero film is one of our most highly anticipated films. It arguably received the best reaction from fans during the San Diego Comic-Con presentations and its promotional campaign continues to tap into the character’s unique fourth-wall-breaking brand of humor. However, the marketplace in China doesn’t hold Deadpool in the same regard.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, looking at various Chinese reports and confirmed by their own source, Deadpool has been denied a release in the country due to its violence, graphic language, and nudity. The trade noted that China’s censorship division often works with Hollywood in order to produce cleaned-up cuts of R-rated films, but this wasn’t possible with Deadpool because — funny enough — cutting out the offensive material would form holes in the plot.
Some of this offensive material has already been spotted in the trailers, such as the merc with the mouth firing a bullet through three heads, slicing and dicing his way through enemies, and the overall blood bath on a freeway.
Hollywood films make up a significant portion of China’s film profits, though their censorship regulations have been very specific in the past. According to a report published in October by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a scene involving clothes drying on a line in Mission: Impossible III was omitted for the China release because it was not deemed a positive portrayal of Shanghai. Similarly, Skyfall had to cut a scene in which Bond kills a Chinese security guard because regulators wouldn’t tolerate the image of a foreigner killing a Chinese citizen. Nevertheless, it’s still a financial benefit for the U.S. to release films in the country, hence this seemingly ridiculous at times back-and-forth.
In terms of Deadpool’s R rating, writer-producer Simon Kinberg told EW, “You either commit to a truly outrageous boundary-pushing kind of movie or you don’t.” So, at least for fans in the U.S., the fact that China has a problem with the content could mean that our hopes for the film will be fulfilled.