In recent years, China has exploded as the world’s fastest-growing market for cinema, with the country’s box office now the second most lucrative behind only the United States and Canada. With such rapid expansion, there’s been a noticeable theme of major Hollywood blockbusters being designed solely to appeal to the Chinese market, and their notoriously strict censors.
Due to the fact that China only allows a certain number of foreign movies to be released each year, the highest-profile projects from each studio are carefully constructed to maximize their appeal with the local audiences, often through casting A-list native actors or using the country as a shooting location. If the censors don’t approve of what they’re seeing, then the editing process is reviewed until it meets the stringent criteria to get the green-light to hit theaters, or it doesn’t get released at all.
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The latest example of this is Disney’s Mulan, which is already finds itself in the midst of a potential mass boycott after star Liu Yifei’s public support of the Hong Kong police generated huge controversy, potentially causing massive damage to the latest live-action remake’s chances of box office success. Now, director Niki Caro has admitted in a recent interview that the Mouse House removed a kissing scene from the theatrical cut of the movie after a preview screening, following objections from Chinese censors.
“It was very beautiful, but the China office went, ‘No, you can’t, that doesn’t feel right to the Chinese people’. So we took it out,” she said.
These days, how a Hollywood-based movie performs in China can affect the box office total by hundreds of millions of dollars, and the movie business is obviously a financially-driven enterprise, but these kind of objections can often lead to the filmmakers having to compromise their creative vision in order to comply with these kinds of guidelines. Mulan is going to be a smash hit Stateside, that much is guaranteed, but it’ll be interesting nonetheless to see how it plays in China following the recent boycott movement.
Source: The Express