"Deadpool's" R-rating may have pleased many longtime fans of the Marvel antihero, but it appears to have cost the Fox film release in the world's second-largest market.
Citing local media reports, The Hollywood Reporter states "Deadpool" has been denied distribution in China, with its more than 20,000 movie screens, because of depictions of violence, nudity and graphic language.
That country's censors often work with Hollywood studios to re-edit R-rated movies so they can meet with approval. However, THR's sources contend it wasn't possible for Fox to cut the objectionable material from "Deadpool" without creating plot problems. Fox declined comment on the story.
As China continues to add movie screens at a rapid rate -- more than 5,000 in 2013 alone -- its importance to Hollywood studios has of course increased. As THR notes, Marvel Studios films have proved popular there, with "Avengers: Age of Ultron" grossing $240 million last summer.
Faced with potential censorship hurdles, Warner Bros. opted not to release 2008's "The Dark Knight" in China, citing "cultural sensitivities in some elements of the film."
Directed by Tim Miller, "Deadpool" stars Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin and Brianna Hildebrand. The film will be released Feb. 12 in North America.