China is not expected to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest film market until 2020, but it seems that Hollywood movies have already begun catering to a growing Chinese audience.
Most recently, the makers behind the anticipated third-installment of the Marvel superhero series "Iron Man," which was partially shot in China, announced that a different version of the film will be released, and it will differ from what audiences outside of China will see. The Chinese version of the trailer, which can be seen above, also differs from the movie's American trailers, as it more prominently features Chinese actors and settings.
Typically, when China releases its own version of a Hollywood movie, it means the film did not pass the sometimes-arbitrary standards of the nation’s media censorship group, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, which is notorious for censoring anything that could be vaguely interpreted as offensive to China.
This time, however, legendary comic book company Marvel is behind the decision to create the special China-version of "Iron Man 3," starring Robert Downey Jr. in the title role. According to The Diplomat, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing will be in the Chinese version of the movie, but her scenes will be cut from all non-Chinese showings.
But Marvel explained that Chinese audiences can expect more than just Fan Bingbing.
“The Chinese version of the film will also feature a special appearance of China’s top actress, Fan Bingbing, and will offer specially prepared bonus footage exclusively for the Chinese audience,” the company noted.
In addition, Chinese actor Wang Xueqi will be featured in both versions of the movie.
The production of "Iron Man 3" has received a lot of international attention for its friendly involvement with Chinese authorities while filming and for its use of Chinese actors.
“Marvel Studios’ experience working on this film with Fan Bingbing and Wang Xueqi and in shooting in China has been very positive and has created a springboard for future collaboration with China’s talented stars and its growing film and television industry,” Marvel said.
Marvel isn’t the only entertainment company with eyes on China. Paramount Pictures had a screening of their upcoming zombie movie, "World War Z," which stars Brad Pitt, for executives and decided to make a minor change to the film, keeping in mind a major audience: China.
According to movie-blog The Wrap, Paramount decided to alter a minor plot detail, changing the geographic origin of an outbreak that eventually caused the zombie apocalypse from China to a different location.
While Paramount executives say that the plot does not hinge on China being the origin, they made the change to be conscious of the fast-growing Chinese market, and the state censorship that would have likely carried out the the change for them.
Just yesterday, Paramount announced that the making of another potential blockbuster, "Transformers 4," will involve working with China. Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Paramount will be co-producing the movie with two high-profile Chinese companies, China Movie Channel and Jiaflix Enterprises.
Yan Xiaoming, chairman of China Movie Channel, also announced that the collaboration on the "Transformers" film is another sign of “a new era of collaboration with Hollywood studios."