Sony Says No to China, Refuses to Remove Statue of Liberty from Latest Spider-Man Film

(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

In a radical departure from the usual international corporate kowtowing to China, Sony decided against releasing its latest installment in the Spider-Man movie series, Spider-Man: No Way Home, there after refusing Chinese requests to delete the Statue of Liberty from the film. According to Puck via National Review:


When Sony refused to delete the statue from the movie, Chinese authorities asked if the company could diminish the statue’s presence. Sony considered the request, the sources told Puck, but ultimately decided against editing the movie and did not release it in China. It’s unclear whether Chinese censors blocked the movie’s release or if Sony preemptively opted against releasing it.

I freely admit the last thing I saw with Spider-Man in it was the 1960s cartoon series, so I’ll take the author’s word that the Statue of Liberty plays a vital role in the movie’s climactic scene. Also, based on the above quote, it’s possible China was the one saying “naah” to the film’s release there and not Sony. However, given that the previous two installments in the current series each made over $100M in China, it makes more sense Sony said uh-uh. If a modification to diminish Lady Libertas’ cameo without wrecking the entire plot was possible, Sony most likely would have chosen that route. $100M is sufficient jingle to put in some OT at the CGI lab.

Whether Sony said no because they weren’t in the mood to re-do a chunk of the film, were sick of Chinese censorship, or both remains a mystery as the studio isn’t talking. The fact remains that there is a high probability a major international corporation told China to get bent. Sure, the movie has made some $1.9B worldwide, so it’s not as if the film flopped without revenue from the Shanghai Bijou. Still, someone told China to go yuan and keep on going.


Given the draconian Internet restrictions China imposes on its serfs … er, citizens, it’s doubtful most Peter Parker partisans there so much as know there is a new Spider-Man movie. Still, one can dream of a scenario in which there is a segment of the Chinese populace sufficiently tech-savvy to get past the censors and find the movie online, watch it, and begin to wonder what kind of government is so petty and paranoid it freaked out over a statue known the world over. From such seeds, dreams of freedom can grow.

So, good on Sony for calling the Chinese bluff and choosing principle over profit. Although I wish that someone at Sony, just to create some excitement, would have said to the Chinese censors, “Sure — give us a few to change statues,” and then brought along cameras to capture the Chinese reaction when the dramatic fight scene took place …

… on the Goddess of Democracy.


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