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spider-man across the spider-verse
Image via Sony Pictures Animation

‘A lesson for other studio marketing departments’: ‘Across the Spider-Verse’ producer fires a shot at racially-motivated pandering to China

He's not naming names, but you know who he's talking about.

Hollywood’s obsession with pandering to the Chinese market may have died down in the post-pandemic era after the industry had spent years transparently trying to muscle its way into the world’s fastest-growing territory for cinema, but Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse producer Christopher Miller has nonetheless fired a blatant shot in the direction of the competition.

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He didn’t mention Disney specifically by name, but you nonetheless get the distinct impression that’s precisely the company he’s talking about. After all, it’s been well-noted that the theatrical poster for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Panther and the early one-sheets for sequel Wakanda Forever – were edited so that Chadwick Boseman and Letitia Wright’s faces were obscured by their respective masks.

spider-man across the spider-verse
via Sony

Then there was the questionable decision to minimize the presence of John Boyega’s Finn on the advertising for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, never mind the early marketing for The Little Mermaid deciding to paint the entire poster – and by extension star Halle Bailey – in a blueish hue. When people are coming right out and admitting racism may have had something to do with the latter’s performance in the nation, then it’s not as if Miller doesn’t have a point.

In fact, while celebrating Across the Spider-Verse sailing past $600 million at the box office – where China is currently its top-grossing avenue outside of domestic shores – he not only called out his rivals, but then produced receipts when somebody tried to instantly brand him a hypocrite.

The evidence is there that very few American-backed IPs are even relevant in China anymore, so maybe the Spider-Verse saga will embolden Stateside executives to do the simplest of things and showcase their characters exactly the way they are.


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Scott Campbell
News, reviews, interviews. To paraphrase Keanu Reeves; Words. Lots of words.