Iron Man 3 Alternate Cut Revealed
This Isn't As Unusual As You'd Expect
It’s well-documented that many foreign countries don’t allow the same liberties of censorship we enjoy in America; and other foreign countries allow for more of whatever is being censored (I understand Europe enjoyed a much bloodier cut of Django Unchained). In fact, the early days of studio filmmaking saw several big-ticket movies filmed more than once in different languages with a different cast and crew most times. Caleb Leland, a contributing writer for Shadowlocked.com, made the IMDb.com home page for his excellent feature about the Spanish and English language cuts of the 1931 film Dracula. (Give it a look at http://goo.gl/rHGRN ).
Today, Marvel Studios and Chinese distributor DMG announced that Marvel Studio’s upcoming blockbuster Iron Man 3 will open to Chinese audiences with a completely different cut than the standard cut Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures will distribute. Iron Man 3 made the headline rounds in early post-production because of its historical decision to shoot in China and now it appears that China got even more than expected. While Chinese movie star Wang Xueqi will appear in both prints, the most famous female actress in China, Fan Bingbing, will only appear in the Chinese print. The joint press release also announced bonus content for Chinese audiences and describes Marvel’s positive experience filming in China with China’s booming film industry.
While it’s easy to become angered at the prospect of not seeing everything you’d wished to see when the film opens May 3, what’s more profound is the final statement of the press release: “The Iron Man cast and filmmakers look forward to bringing Iron Man back to China.” Why would the cast and filmmakers look forward to bringing IM back to China? He hasn’t been there cinematically. An obvious response would be that the statement is in reference to the Iron Man of Marvel Comics who visits China rather often in the course of action. However, one could interpret the sentence to mean that IM will be coming back to China for future installments — could The Avengers 2 show Tony Stark flying back to China again?
The biggest news, however, takes us back to the alternate cut of the film. Will the story be altered significantly? Despite differences in the Chinese cut, could Iron Man 3 really be so different where it would affect future Marvel Studio's installments? This means that more and more films will have several different cuts to appease target demographics (in this case, the entire population of China). This means that films will lose their artistic integrity (not that Iron Man 3 is an art film, but still) in order to get a maximum box office pandering.
I have one question for Marvel: Does the cost of shooting multiple cuts/prints of a film really translate to that much more of a profit when compared to the profit of a blockbuster that stuck to one script and storyline? This causes films to lose their individuality resulting in some sort of “pseudo-choose-your-own-adventure.” I know I want a definitive cut — the film I paid to see, not a version of it. America is the only country that produces blockbuster movies and China appears to be on the verge of competing with the US in the future over the box office. When the time comes, will Americans want the Chinese to pander to our box office or will they want definitive cuts? As of now, China bans “SpongeBob SquarePants.” This is allegedly due to Patrick’s lack of shirt and Squidward’s lack of pants, and because the show airs during the same time as Chinese primetime cartoons (Chinese cartoons can’t compete with foreign, more popular cartoons unless they are banned). American moviegoers of the future will have the deciding vote when they choose for or against seeing a film shot in a country with stricter censorship. Will Chinese studios appease American audiences by adding more sex, language and violence while withholding such vices from their domestic viewership?