For the longest time, Hollywood has catered to Chinese censors, sometimes going overboard to keep up with one of the biggest markets in the entertainment industry. However, it looks like that is not the case anymore. In recent years, some of Hollywood’s leading producers, who are the masterminds behind some blockbuster films, have been intentionally keeping scenes that could provoke the Chinese censor board without taking into account the possible loss of access to a market of 1.4 billion people.
Because of this, some movies were highly anticipated across the globe, such as “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” and “Lightyear,” which did not see the face of the Chinese movie theaters and it doesn’t seem like they would hit the world’s second-largest box office anytime soon.
The Chinese Censorship
For most countries, when a film is released, it is reviewed and then aired in the cinemas, but in China’s case, there is strict censorship that reviews each and every bit of a film before releasing it to its public. The slightest of errors could irk 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 down anything they perceive as ‘inappropriate.’ This can include symbols, visuals, and even the most minor of appearance of cleavage, tattoos, politically sensitive topics, and even smoking is considered to be 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 left out Taiwan’s flag, which was featured in Tom Cruise’s iconic bomber jacket. This was because the producers were urged by a Chinese investor who made the producers change the initial vision. This is because China and Taiwan have been on the verge of conflict as the Beijing leadership claims that Taiwan is a part of the main Chinese territory even though the communist government has never directly ruled it.
Not So ‘Lightyear’
Another case was the Disney and Pixar film ‘Lightyear’ which featured a same-sex kissing scene that many authorities, including the Chinese censorship, 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 because of it. It is no secret that the Chinese Communist government has long opposed and placed laws ruling homosexuality illegal.
Do you think it’s worth it to miss out on the world’s second-largest box office?