While it may seem that Disney films are ubiquitous, there’s one major market where they’re missed more often than not: China. And on today’s Disney earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek told shareholders that while the situation may be complicated, he’s confident that Disney’s doing just fine without China, thank you very much.
On the call, one analyst pointed out that Disney has historically struggled to get its films released in China, an issue that has impacted films such as Shang-Chi and Marvel’s Eternals in recent years. Each has rejected for different reasons, but all of them stem from the same problem of China’s government censors being incredibly strict about what content they’ll permit for a box office release, as well as limiting the total number of international films they admit each year. Films have been rejected, for instance, due to casting actors who have spoken critically about the Chinese government.
As Chapek points out, both Encanto and Death on the Nile were recently released in China, and he confirmed that Disney will continue to submit films for release there. But, he adds, a given movie’s success is hardly riding on the market. After all, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness did not get a release in China, and according to Chapek, its box office earnings just crossed $500 million in less than a week.
“We’re pretty confident that even without China, if it were to be that we continue to have difficulties in getting titles in there, that it doesn’t really preclude our success given the relatively lower take rate that we get on the box office in China than we do across rest of the world,” he said.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – New Trailer Screenshots
Chapek’s figure for Dr. Strange is a jump above the previously-announced $450 million box office total from three days ago in an international release that excludes China, Russia, and Ukraine. Its US debut alone reached $185 million, ahead of Shang-Chi’s $75 million and Eternals’ $71 million. You can read our review of the film here.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.