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China ends four-year ban on Marvel movies; locks dates for ‘Wakanda Forever’, ‘Ant-Man’ three-quel


Geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China may be high, but one sign of a thaw will be coming to a theater near you, if you live in the Middle Kingdom.

The country has reportedly decided to end its four-year ban on Marvel Studios movies, with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opening there this weekend as China celebrates the Lunar New Year, traditionally a huge movie-going window.

Further, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania will debut on the same day it opens in the U.S., February 17.

The ban, which wasn’t officially announced, meant the entire run of Marvel Studios’ Phase Four films, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Thor: Love and Thunder, went un-screened there. While both films ended up as some of the highest-grossing movies of the year, missing out in the movie-hungry Chinese market definitely dinged their bottom lines, to the tune of millions.

Prior to the ban, the last Marvel Studios films to open in China were Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home — the latter a Sony Pictures co-production — in 2019.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

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