The Chinese are a strange lot. Now that they’ve achieved economic superpower status, the country has plenty of muscles to flex when it comes to Hollywood movies that appear in their country. Since the Chinese Government controls whatever movies open in China to its gazillion (give or take) citizens, it behooves Hollywood studios not to piss off the Chinese Government.
Like, say, make Chinese workers in a Chinese restaurant secretly aliens. Yeah, that’s not going to work. As a result, that scene in “Men in Black 3″ was cut to appease the Chinese Government, or else the movie would not have been allowed to screen in the country.
In a bit of a silly twist, instead of having scenes they deem “offensive” deleted from a movie before allowing it to screen, Sony has added back in China-centric scenes to their upcoming time-travel actioner “Looper” at the “request” of the movie’s Chinese financial backers. Here’s the thing: the added scenes don’t actually hurt (too much) or help the film, it just, you know, adds some more “Chinese-ness”, I guess you’d call it, to the movie.
The LATimes breaks it down:
According to two people involved with the production who were not authorized to talk about it publicly, those moments ended up on the cutting-room floor in the English-language version. But the footage, which showcases Shanghai streets and landmarks, is being added back into the Chinese version at the request of financiers from the country.
The scenes, mainly exposition about how Gordon-Levitt’s character took a downward spiral, did not test well with American audiences, who felt it upset the film’s pacing. “But the Chinese didn’t care about pacing, and they wanted the [China-set] scenes in, so we said OK,” said one of the two people involved with the film. (Some other Chinese scenes do wind up in the Western version.)
Hey, at least they’re not “requesting” that Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character speak exclusively in Mandarin. Am I right, kids?
Non-Chinese audiences will be able to see the slightly shorter, less boring version of “Looper” this September 28, 2012. Wouldn’t it be hilariously ironic if the slightly longer Chinese version became a cult item for “Looper” fans?