From then on, Hollywood will never make a movie with China as the villain again

2022-08-11 0 By

The 2012 adaptation of Red Dawn was a turning point between Hollywood and the Chinese market.In 2008, METRO-Goldwyn-Mayer desperately needed something familiar.As the company struggles to avoid bankruptcy, executives are searching its library of old movies to determine what can be remade.Soon a film surfaced: red Dawn, the 1984 hit about the Soviet invasion of The United States.So, “Who’s the villain?”Mr. Passmore, one of the screenwriters of the remake, asked MGM executives.There is one obvious answer: China.But in the years since, the remake’s journey from concept to production has been cited as a turning point in Hollywood’s relationship with its most important foreign market: China.MGM initially planned to release a remake of red Dawn after the 2008 recession shook confidence in the U.S. economy.On the other hand, China has just hosted guests from all over the world at the Summer Olympics in Beijing.Chinese manufacturers are starting to invest in factories in the United States.In a 2010 Pew Research Center poll, some 47 percent of Americans said China’s growing economic power was bad for the United States.In the 2012 version of red Dawn, the villain is North Korea.Passmore began working on a script for a Chinese attack on the United States.But in the more than two years between the moment Passmore was told to cast China as the villain and the film was ready for release, that changed.Shortly after the film wrapped in late 2009, The Hollywood blockbuster “Avatar” grossed more than $200 million in The Chinese market and awakened Hollywood to China’s enormous economic potential.The trend is clear: While China’s box office is booming, the U.S. box office is stagnant.By the time the film was edited in mid-2010, no Hollywood executive wanted to touch a film that cast its most important new client as a villain.If MGM distributed the film itself, even in the United States, China could retaliate by refusing to screen its more lucrative James Bond films in its market.For the producers, that means the only solution is a complete redesign: replace the villain with another country.The revamped red Dawn was bought by a small company with no operations in China and released in November 2012.While the $45m in the US was not enough to recoup the film’s budget, it meant MGM avoided being chased out of China by its bigger hit.The film proved to have a more profound effect on Hollywood.Since then, Hollywood has not produced another film that portrays China as a villain.Source: Tea Room on the third floor, by Erich Schwarzer, translated by Ding Yuqing