MGM Trades In Chinese Villains For North Korean Ones In The Red Dawn Remake

Red Dawn
Photo via Red Dawn

Although Red Dawn has yet to find a distributor, MGM isn’t letting that stop them from making some minor changes to the 1984 remake. The L.A. Times is reporting that the studio has begun to show the film off to potential distributors. The problem is that the distributors are nervous about becoming associated with the film. They are concerned that doing so would harm their ability to do business with the rising Asian superpower, one of the fastest-growing and potentially most lucrative markets for American movies, not to mention other U.S. products.

The “Red Dawn” remake follows several teenagers in Spokane, Wash., who fight invading Chinese forces allied with Russia in the near future (in the original film, the Soviets partnered with Cubans). The roughly $60-million production stars Chris Hemsworth, who will become much better known to moviegoers this May when he plays the title role in the superhero event picture “Thor.”

People close to the picture said the changes will cost less than $1 million and involve changing an opening sequence summarizing the story’s fictional backdrop, re-editing two scenes and using digital technology to transform many Chinese symbols to Korean. It’s impossible to eliminate all references to China, the people said, though the changes will give North Korea a much larger role in the coalition that invades the U.S.

One of the most perplexing things about this is the fact that the studio decided to move forward with this project at all, knowing full well that a country like China is perhaps one of the biggest in Asia, despite the government’s policy of allowing only about 20 non-Chinese films into theaters each year. In 2010, China was the fifth-biggest box office market outside of the United States, with $1.5 billion in revenue.

But the original Red Dawn played on actual fears that stemmed from the Cold War and today none of those fears exist. Our concerns are with China’s treatment of its citizens and the amount of debt they actually have, and our issues with North Korea is whether or not they actually have balls to do what they say. My guess is they probably don’t.

Given all these issues and concerns there is a possibility that this film could go straight to DVD or just be shelved completely.


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