Lionsgate’s “Power Rangers” has received a China release date after weeks of speculation that it might not open there because of a brief scene in which a ranger questions her sexuality.
The superhero film, directed by Dean Israelite, will open in China on May 12. No cuts will be made to the film. To date, “Power Rangers” has earned approximately $100 million worldwide.
The release date for “Power Rangers” pits the film against Warner Bros.’ “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” directed by Guy Ritchie. It will also go head-to-head with “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” which debuts one week earlier.
There was speculation that “Power Rangers” might not open in China without cuts because of a scene depicting the Yellow Ranger questioning her sexuality. In China, gay relationships are banned from broadcast television, and LGBT-themed movies like “Brokeback Mountain” were denied a release.
Two weeks ago, “Power Rangers'” Russian distributor informed theaters that the film’s rating had been upped from 16+ to 18+. The move came in the wake of comments from a hard-right legislator who ranted against the presence of a LGBTQ superhero — Trini, the Yellow Ranger — in Israelite’s action pic. The distributor provided no explanation for assigning the stricter age restriction.
Vitaly Milonov, who was the principal sponsor of a law that criminalized “homosexual propaganda directed toward minors” — and once said that the only things openly gay Apple CEO Tim Cook could offer Russia were “the Ebola virus, AIDS [and] gonorrhea” — called for “Power Rangers” to be banned on a conservative TV network.
But like Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” which opened in China on May 17 despite an “exclusively gay moment,” “Power Rangers” is set to open without any cuts.
The Chinese release of “Power Rangers” will be handled by state distributors China Film Group and Huaxia Distribution, with TIK Films handling the marketing of the film. TIK is part of the Hunan TV Group, which has a long-term partnership with Lionsgate.