Hollywood loves Chinese money, as the film audience in China makes up a significant portion of potential global box-office. As we’ve heard many times before, productions will shoot in China and/or cast Chinese actors not only to attract the local audience, but to qualify for distribution in the country. Some films, such as Looper and Iron Man 3, have even crafted China-specific versions.
Now Transformers 4 will cast Chinese actors and shoot footage in the country, the better to secure co-production status and thus a prime Chinese release opportunity. (China’s state regulations allow only a limited number of foreign films to play in a given year. Co-production status helps American studios skirt around release restrictions, as the film becomes technically a Chinese production.)
In a related note, there’s a report claiming that Paramount is making a slight change to World War Z in order to forestall controversy in China. Read More »
It seems that Warner Brothers has given up fighting Chinese censors for a theatrical release of The Dark Knight. Instead, WB is going to skip the film’s release altogether. In a statement on Tuesday, the studio disclosed the following:
“Based on a number of pre-release conditions that are being attached to ‘The Dark Knight’ as well as cultural sensitivities to some elements of the film, we have opted to forego a theatrical release of the film in China.”
It’s not surprising that Warner has had trouble getting the film through Chinese censors. The film is after all about an American vigilante who (spoilers?) illegally travels to China to kidnap a Chinese businessman with ties to mob money. Said vigilante does other stuff too (I think a clown is involved?), but I’m fairly certain it’s the above that has China up in arms.
China’s censors only allow 20 foreign films into the country every year, and given the large role Hong Kong plays in The Dark Knight’s plot, I don’t think WB could have ever made them happy. In the end, this seems like a wise move. I’m fairly certain that this decision implies that WB won’t be releasing an official DVD/Bluray of the film either, but somehow I don’t think the Chinese moviegoing public will be denied their Dark Knight fix.