China Drops Censorship of Zombie and Vampire Movies

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By Kieran Corcoran | 3:53 am, May 26, 2017
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The Chinese government has ended a ban on movies showing zombies and vampires in a bid to prop up its failing film industry.

Official censors have long restricted blockbusters depicting the undead under rules that outlaw the promotion of “cults or superstition”.

Domestic audiences were denied the chance to watch the Ghostbusters reboot (poor them) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, while World War Z was also affected.

But the prohibition has apparently been dropped, with several zombie movies making the cut, including recent iterations of the Resident Evil  and Pirates of the Caribbean franchises.

According to the Financial Times, ban-happy Chinese officials decided to let zombies into the lives of their citizens for a simple reason – money.

It reports that its cinemas have been doing alarmingly poorly of late – and that the easiest way to get people in front of a big screen is to let in flashy Hollywood films.

Local audiences love sci-fi and horror movies, particularly well-produced Western fare (rather than well-financed but low-quality Chinese attempts), which could help maintain growth in a struggling sector.

Although movie takings are still going up, they have slowed precipitously. In 2015 box office takings shot up 49%, but in 2016 that slowed to just 3%.

China usually only lets domestic cinemas show 34 foreign films per year and bans all foreign movie showings in the months of July and August.

The summer ban is being scrapped, according to reports, while the 34-movie cap could also be shelved in a bid to shore up Chinese growth for another year.

The episode appears to show that one of the best ways to beat censorship is to make it unprofitable.

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