Disney is making a different version of some movies, such as Iron Man 3, for the Chinese theater-going public. The changes include such things as China landmarks, celebrity Chinese stars, omitted lines of dialogue, etc. These details are meant to make the film more appealing to the ever-growing number of Chinese moviegoers — something Hollywood isn’t ignoring.
Many blockbuster smashes, like the Marvel super-hero films, get more than half of their revenue from international box offices. So making a movie that strongly appeals to Chinese moviegoers just makes good business sense.
But not all of these catered changes to films like Iron Man 3 have to do with the interests of the audience. Some of the production deals made with China allow American studios certain privileges, like how many theaters they are allowed to show American movies at in China during a given year.
The co-production status would have treated “Iron Man 3” as a domestically produced film and enabled Disney and Marvel to circumvent the government’s import quota limiting the number of foreign releases that are shown in mainland theaters. That would also have given Disney a larger piece of the box office.
But the Mouse House is still getting preferential treatment by producing a version of “Iron Man 3” specifically for Chinese moviegoers that features notable locations and a fair amount of footage that would appeal to local tastes.
China continues to push their politics in a myriad of ways on American films.
Studios have been careful to meet a long list of Chinese censorship rules when unspooling their pics there. Last year, James Bond pic “Skyfall” had to cut a scene of a Chinese security guard being killed by an assassin when the government objected to law enforcement being portrayed as incompetent. References to the film’s villain being tortured by Chinese authorities were also removed. Other films like “Men in Black 3,” “Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End” and “Mission: Impossible 3” were also edited.
Marvel described the move as a “springboard for future collaboration with China’s talented stars and its growing film and television industry,” and called its experience on making “Iron Man 3″ there as “very positive.” Disney is paying close attention to its relationship with Chinese officials as it builds its next theme park and resort in Shanghai and looks to expand its overall business there.…
It’s too bad that politics intrude on most every area of life. The American ideal is hampered to cater to another society — changing the very nature of our hero stories in cinema to appeal more to some real-world villains.