For the longest time, Hollywood catered to Chinese censors, sometimes going overboard to keep up with one of the biggest markets in entertainment. However, that no longer seems to be the case. In recent years, some of Hollywood’s top producers, who are the masterminds behind some blockbuster films, have deliberately held scenes that could provoke the Chinese censorship board without considering the possible loss of access to a market of 1.4 billion people.
BAs a result, some movies were highly anticipated worldwide, such as “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and “Lightyear,” which have not seen the face of Chinese cinemas and do not seem to they will soon reach the world’s second biggest box office.
The Chinese Censorship
For most countries, when a film is released, it is reviewed and then screened in the cinemas, but in China’s case, there is strict censorship that assesses every bit of a film before it is released to its public. The slightest mistake can irritate the Chinese censor, resulting in the film not being released in the theaters. Censorship is a serious thing in China, as the government uses it as a tool to flag anything they deem ‘inappropriate’. This can include symbols, visuals, and even the slightest appearance of cleavage, tattoos, politically sensitive topics, and even smoking are considered inappropriate.
Bye-bye Top Gun: Maverick
A perfect example of this situation is the recent Tom Cruise film “Top Gun: Maverick”. considered one of the biggest pictures this year. In its 2019 trailer, the movie omitted Taiwan’s flag, which appeared in Tom Cruise’s iconic bomber jacket. This was because the producers were encouraged by a Chinese investor who made the producers change the initial vision. This is because China and Taiwan have been on the brink of conflict, as the Beijing leadership claims that Taiwan is part of the main Chinese territory, even though the communist government never ruled it directly.
Not so ‘Light Years’
Another case was the Disney and Pixar film ‘Lightyear’ which featured a same-sex kiss scene that many authorities, including the Chinese censor, reached out to the studios to remove from their animated release, but Disney chose not to cut the scene. The producer later mentioned that she was convinced that the film would not be released in China. It’s no secret that the Chinese Communist government has long opposed and enacted laws outlawing homosexuality.
Do you think it’s worth missing out on the world’s second biggest box office?