Students for a Free Tibet Protest Doctor Strange Tibetan Erasure

Doctor Strange opens this weekend and the film has been criticized for changing the location of Doctor Strange’s training grounds from Tibet to Nepal and the casting of Tilda Swinton in the role of the Ancient One (a character that’s been traditionally Asian) in a reported business move to not offend China and increase chances the film would be released in their theaters.

Doctor Strange scriptwriter C Robert Cargill appeared on YouTube podcast Double Toasted where he described the no win situation of the casting in April confirming the speculation.

Marvel has been making moves into China when it comes to their films and comics, adding footage and casting in Iron Man 3 (which also received some Chinese funding) in hopes of the film playing better in the nation and sending permanent staff to the country too. They are clearly thinking of the country in their business plan, and as such wouldn’t want to do anything to risk angering what is a major market.

Marvel’s films have generally played in the country but Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger did not. As you can see from the graph below, the percent of earnings to the total, foreign, and compared to domestic have generally increased over the years.

China also limits how many foreign films are allowed to be released in their country. They increased that amount to 34 films in 2017-2018. So, it’s a competitive market to even get into.

In Manhattan outside a movie theater Thursday night during the film’s debut Students for a Free Tibet protested the erasure of Tibet in the film and appeasement to the Chinese government.

Our intrepid reporter Elana was on the scene where she got Urgyen Badheytsang, Campaigns Director for the organization, to speak on the subject.

Marvel’s Box Office Earnings