Top Gun: Maverick Shows Hollywood Can Survive Without China – Quartz

The turbulent relationship between Hollywood and China has taken a major turn in the past year, most notably now the success Top Gun: Maverickthat crossed 1 billion dollars Mark in ticket sales last weekend.

Like many Hollywood productions in recent years, a portion of the film’s $170 million budget was backed in part by a major Chinese investor, in this case, Tencent. However, the company Withdrawn Because of reported concerns that Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials would not appreciate their affiliation with a film that portrays the US military in a positive light.

Political tensions appeared in the film for the first time in 2019, when Primary Trailer for Top Gun: Maverick Show the character of Tom Cruise wearing a flight jacket without the flags of Japan and Taiwan, which was shown in 1986 original versionInstead, they had different graphics in place.

Skydance/Paramount Pictures

Tom Cruise wears a modified version of his flight jacket in the 2019 trailer for “Top Gun: Maverick”

Critics note this omission, with some Take it as a sign That the American producers of the film were bowing to the will of the Chinese government, which it does not officially Getting to know Taiwan as a country. Similar concerns were expressed in 2021, when actor John Cena did an extraordinary job general apology to the people of China for calling Taiwan a “country” during a promotional interview for part of the Fast and Furious movie franchise.

US movie studios have tried to follow China’s rules, but it doesn’t always work

The last two cases are just the latest in a long line of steps Hollywood has taken to comply with Chinese censorship in order to maintain access to 1.4 billion moviegoers, the world’s largest film market. Meanwhile, Chinese investors flocked hundreds of millions From dollars to American movie studios.

despite of Hollywood’s Efforts To work with the Chinese government to bring its films to market, Chinese Communist Party censorship Regularly bans the main movies of a wide range of files specific And sometimes for unjustified reasons. for example, Spider-Man: There’s no way home It was banned in China because of what the government thought were images of the United States that were too patriotic, according to some sources Familiar with Sony’s dealings in this matter. Offensive patriotic material in question: New York City’s Statue of Liberty, which appears near the end of the film.

Likewise, superhero movies including Marvel’s Black WidowAnd the eternityAnd the Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsAnd the Doctor Strange in a multiverse of madness They are all banned in China.

But the ban does not necessarily mean the death of the films in question. No going back home It could still become the most successful film of 2021, defying the challenges of a pandemic lockdown as well as a lack of ticket sales in China, ultimately attracting $1.9 billion globally. At the beginning of 2022, Dr. Gharib It prevailed to become the most successful release of the year with $950 million, until the appearance of Top Gun: Maverickwhich has exceeded that total and continues to enjoy strong ticket sales.

Why 2022 is shaping up to be the year when Hollywood might stop caring so much about CCP guidelines

Hollywood studio executives are still mostly reluctant to address the issue of Chinese censorship directly. When the topic was pressed by a Variety reporter in 2021, Disney’s president for the Asia Pacific region, Luke Kang, tried to paint a positive picture.

“It’s hard to predict the government’s moves,” he said. He said Kang. “Our mission is to be where the consumers are, to understand the consumer, [understand] Where our brands and franchises resonate. Within the constraints and limitations we give us, we are able to maximize our reach and potential.”

But when filming of the Statue of Liberty is censored, Cruise’s movie Mission: Impossible – Rogue NationA 2015 film about a heroic American intelligence agent has been allowed to be released from China, and defining what can pass through the censorship of the Chinese Communist Party appears to be a challenge.

rogue nation He made $136 million in China, which means Top Gun: Maverick He probably lost a lot at least. However, with “Limitations and Limits” on what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable to CCP continues to be vague at times, it appears Hollywood studios are preparing for life without the Chinese market.

By the way, the jacket is as shown in Top Gun: MaverickThe 2019 trailer did not make it to the final trailer for the movie. Instead, for the first few minutes of the movie, Cruz dons his classic flight jacket, which displays the Taiwanese and Japanese flags just as they did in the original ’80s.

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