Spider-Man: No Path Home became an instant Hollywood blockbuster when it only took two weeks to reach the top of the 2021 box office, beating a Chinese patriotic war epic that is also the country’s most successful film of all time.

Sony’s highest-grossing film to date – $ 1.37 billion in all markets, according to IMDb’s Box Office Mojo – is also the best performer in Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Barely three weeks after its release, it is already the 12th highest grossing of all time in the world and the 10th highest at the North American box office.

Towards the end of the year, the Chinese Communist Party mandated Battle at Changjin Lake broke Chinese box office records to become its most successful film of all time. Having grossed $ 902 million almost entirely from its own moviegoers, the historic action drama was set to become the biggest box office film of the year in the world before. No way home got ahead of him during the holidays.

Changjin Lake is a Chinese account of the Battle of Chosin Reservoir during the Korean War, in which United Nations troops led by the United States were forced into a strategic retreat.

It topped the charts for weeks after its October 1 release to coincide with China’s National Day holidays. The film’s $ 200 million budget is the largest in the country’s history.

No way homeThe success of s has been made even more impressive by the fact that China, the world’s largest film market for two consecutive years, has yet to contribute to its ticket sales. Spoilers and screenshots from Tom Holland’s third solo outing as Peter Parker flooded China’s leading social media service Weibo over the Christmas and New Years period, but fans are still waiting for that. the government gives the green light to a release date.

In fact, none of Marvel’s Phase 4 movies, starting with Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow– graced Chinese cinemas. Despite great expectations from the Chinese public, neither Shang-Chi and the legend of the ten rings or Eternals has been approved for release. Marvel-Sony Project Venom: let there be carnage didn’t make the cut either.

In the case of Shang-Chi, fans pointed to lead actor Simu Liu’s previous critical comments as well as the film’s comedic origins, which some viewed as racist against East Asians despite its full return for the MCU. Venom protagonist Tom Hardy appeared to be in the same boat as Simu Liu.

The absence of Eternals was perhaps more predictable. Its director, Beijing-born Chloe Zhao, had already fallen under Chinese censorship in March, shortly after her success at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, when local media unearthed a 2013 interview in which she criticized the China’s political atmosphere.

The country’s internet regulators worked overtime to remove congratulatory content a month later when Zhao won the Oscar for best director and his movie Nomadic country won the award for Best Picture at the 93rd Academy Awards. Watchers then guessed that China would likely avoid her MCU directorial debut. Eternals, too, despite the general popularity of Marvel films with Chinese audiences.

Still, that doesn’t mean there is no hope for Chinese Spider-Man fans. Sony released a Chinese poster for No way home in 2021, and the film is so far free of controversy. However, Marvel and its owners at Disney cannot help operating in an atmosphere of political tension between the United States and China, the latter naturally inclined to restrict imports of American soft power.

While that does mean some uncertainty for Marvel 2022’s big hitters, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the performance of No way home should help reassure Disney that China may not be the only market ruling them all

(LR) Benedict Cumberbatch, Jacob Batalon, Zendaya and Tom Holland attend the Sony Pictures “Spider-Man: No Way Home” Los Angeles premiere on December 13, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. It took only two weeks for “No Way Home” to reach the top of the 2021 box office after its theatrical release on December 17, 2021, beating “The Battle of Changjin Lake”, a Chinese war epic that is also the country’s most successful film of all time. .
Amy Sussman / Getty Images

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