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'Iron Man 3' not the first film to get a unique Chinese cut

March 29, 2013|By Daniel Miller
  • Like the forthcoming "Iron Man 3," a special version of last year's "Looper," which starred Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was released in China.
Like the forthcoming "Iron Man 3," a special version of last… (TriStar Pictures )

Hollywood is pretty well accustomed to its movies being censored by authorities in China.

But in the case of Marvel Studios' forthcoming "Iron Man 3," something close to the opposite of that practice is taking place.

On Friday, Walt Disney Co. subsidiary Marvel Studios and Chinese media company DMG announced in a joint statement that a unique version of "Iron Man 3" would be released in China. There, the superhero film will include special bonus footage, including an appearance by Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.

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"Iron Man 3" isn't the first film to be tailored to appeal to Chinese audiences. A distinct version of last fall's Joseph Gordon-Levitt time travel thriller "Looper" was released in China.

Scenes were added to the Chinese version of the film that included footage of Shanghai streets and landmarks. The expositional segment was meant to illustrate how Gordon-Levitt's hit-man character took a downward spiral, according to a Los Angeles Times story from last year.

The material had been shot by director Rian Johnson after DMG boarded "Looper" as a financier, but the scenes weren't included in the stateside version of the movie released by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

And at least one movie has been changed by its filmmakers due to concerns about how it would be perceived in China and by the country's government. While in post-production in 2011, MGM altered its remake of "Red Dawn" -- digitally removing Chinese villains. 

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In an effort to stem potential fallout in China, filmmakers removed Chinese flags and symbols from "Red Dawn," and changed dialogue and other aspects of the movie. In the finished product, which was released stateside in November, the antagonists are from North Korea.

Of course, there are plenty of recent examples of China's censor board, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, making changes to films. Last year's "Men in Black III," "Cloud Atlas" and "Skyfall" all were censored in China.

The U.S., international and Chinese versions of "Iron Man 3" all have elements that could appeal to Chinese audiences -- parts of the movie were shot in Beijing last year and Chinese actor Wang Xueqi plays a character named Dr. Wu.

"Iron Man 3" will be released domestically May 3, but a Chinese release date has not yet been set. DMG is marketing and distributing the film in China.

ALSO:

China will get its own 'Iron Man 3' 

Hollywood gripped by pressure system from China

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Daniel Miller

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