Pirates of the Caribbean banned: Why Johnny Depp film was not released in China

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest was a hugely anticipated film. Its previous entry, Curse of the Black Pearl, was a runaway hit at the box office, making a staggering $ 654 million at the box office on a $ 140 million budget. Disney were originally a little unsure about Gore Verbinski making a big-budget film about pirates, but after seeing its success, they wanted to go bigger and better for the sequel. Unfortunately for them, one of its first scenes meant it was instantly banned in China.
The film’s early plot reintroduced Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) who was stranded on a tropical island as the new ruler of a tribe of indigenous people.

While his friends Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) figured out how to save him, Mr Gibbs (Kevin McNally) revealed a stark detail about the Pelagostos tribe.

He said: “Worse, as it turns out. See, the Pelegostos believe that Jack is a god in human form and they intend to do him the honour of releasing him from his fleshy prison.”

Mr Cotton (David Bailie) then bit Mr Gibbs illustrating the point, prompting the sailor to add: “They’ll roast him and eat him.”

READ MORE: Pirates of the Caribbean: Johnny Depp film was ‘doomed to fail’

An axed line from the movie also referenced eating children.

According to the Pirates Fandom website, Jack Sparrow was originally going to say: “I notice you’ve got loads of women everywhere, but very few children. Why is that? Are the little ones a bit more tasty, then?” before it was removed from the movie.

This was enough for the Chinese Film Bureau to ban the film in their region, as they have a strict “no cannibalism” rule for their films.

Dead Man’s Chest was also banned for another reason: It included ghosts.

Because of this, the second film in the series was banned from the country, leaving Pirates of the Caribbean fans without the middle chapter of the story.

Dead Man’s Chest didn’t struggle without the Chinese market, however.

The budget of the film was doubled from its predecessor to $ 225 million and made an incredible $ 1.06 billion at the box office.

A similar censorship issue was brought up in the final film of the trilogy, At World’s End.

Within the film, Chow Yun Fat played a Chinese pirate named Sao Feng, but the Film Bureau deemed his inclusion in the film as “vilifying” the country.

Although the actor had around 20 minutes of screen time in the movie, Disney made appropriate changes to allow the film to be released in China.

The film studio went on to cut out half of Chow Run Fat’s screen time to achieve a release. 

At World’s End was then released on May 25, 2007 and made a whopping $ 961 million at the box office, on a $ 300 million budget.

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