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MGM changing Red Dawn villains so as not to offend Chinese box office

03.16.2011

The remake of RED DAWN has been sitting on a shelf at MGM for a while as that studio figured out how to crawl out of bankruptcy. Now two years after the production started filming, MGM is revisiting the film to make some controversial changes.

After viewing the film, MGM executives felt that the film's villains, Chinese aggressors, could possibly damage both this film and future film's box office receipts in a market that is very important to international box office. So what did they decide to do? They're digitally retouching the film to make the villains instead come from North Korea by editing flags and redubbing dialogue. And why is insulting one Asian country better than insulting another Asian country? Because North Korea doesn't give Hollywood any money!

There is often much in the way of film censorship in China and although there were no formal protests, MGM was worried that Chinese leaders would block the film from ever airing in their country and possibly blocking future films from the studio. China is the fifth-biggest box-office market with over $1.5 billion in 2010 and all studios want a big part of that. But none have gone this far to kowtow to potential political concerns by editing a film.

The issue seemed to gain heat when MGM started trying to shop the film to other studios in hopes of getting some quick cash. No buyers were interested because of the potential for a controversy.

One expert weighed in saying that though US censorship is never the answer, the film was likely to insult Chinese, summing up by saying pretty much what we're all thinking: "The film itself was not a smart move."

Source: LA Times

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