Posted on Thursday, June 10th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
MGM’s dire financial situation — the studio is now controlled by creditors rather than execs — is having a growing effect on a wide variety of films. The twenty-third Bond movie was shelved indefinitely, basically until MGM’s situation is sorted out and EON Productions can get the movie made elsewhere. Guillermo Del Toro walked away from directing The Hobbit because the studio’s troubles had extended the pre-production schedule to a length he wasn’t comfortable with, and the film’s future remains uncertain.
And now the Red Dawn remake, which has already been stirring up controversy in China, is reportedly delayed until MGM’s problems are dealt with.
The LA Times reports,
Red Dawn isn’t coming Nov. 24, as the conservative blogs have all promised. In fact, no one knows when the movie will ever be released.
The film is reportedly close to finished, but MGM is in no position to release anything at this point. What’s ironic here is that Red Dawn is probably the film that could stand to make MGM the most money right now. But if there’s no money to really finish the film, much less pay for a release, what can be done? Perhaps sell it off to another studio? Could happen, and MGM could also be back in some sort of fighting shape by the end of this year…yeah, right.
On the topic of the controversy brought up by the film (which hasn’t been shown publicly, mind you) there were strong words from a state-run Chinese paper after the script recently leaked out.
“U.S. reshoots Cold War movie to demonize China” and “American movie plants hostile seeds against China,” were the headlines last week in the Global Times, published out of Beijing. Articles went on to say that the film has roots in a deep American fear of Chinese power. “China can still feel U.S. distrust and fear, especially among its people. Americans’ suspicions about China are the best ground for the hawks to disseminate fear and doubt, which is the biggest concern with the movie ‘Red Dawn,’” went one piece.
China and the film’s producers aren’t the only irritated parties here. A New Yorker blog says “Before we begin hearing about the “hurtfeelingsoftheChinesepeople,” I would point out that this film also hurts the feelings of some American people who know we can do better than this.”
And based on the script, The Awl calls Red Dawn “probably the most unnecessary, irresponsible, Sinophobic film in America’s history, and that’s saying a lot…The film is, indeed, just a film. Or as the MGM executive I spoke with described it: “just an action film.” Nonetheless, it is a bald example of how one-dimensionally America generally, at all levels, thinks about China and Chinese people.”
So now I need to read the script. I love how, in the face of and possibly directly in response to this controversy, some conservative press is ready to embrace the film as a hard-core anti-Communist update of the original, though I have doubts that it will really take such a hard line in the final edit. The days of John Milius are (perhaps sadly) in the past.