Hollywood filmmakers are self-censoring to avoid angering leaders in China, where US-made flicks rake in billions of dollars annually, according to a bombshell report.
The makers of big-budget films — including “Iron Man 3,” “World War Z” and “Top Gun: Maverick”— are pandering to the country’s authoritarian government by cutting characters and dialogue that aren’t pro-China, according to PEN America, a non-profit that promotes free speech.
Authors of the report say Tinseltown honchos are censoring themselves to ensure better movie release dates and advertising deals from the country.
“Filmmakers cannot reduce their work to the lowest common denominator of only content that is deemed acceptable by one of the world’s most censorious regimes,” the report states. “Hollywood’s approach…is setting a standard for the rest of the world.”
In one example, Paramount Studio bosses allegedly demanded that dialogue about how a virus had originated in China be removed from the apocalyptic action thriller “World War Z,” starring Brad Pitt, according to the report.
An executive from the company later admitted the edit was made to pass China’s movie review process, according to the entertainment news site The Wrap.
In another example, Marvel Studios allegedly added a scene to the Chinese version of the 2013 movie “Iron Man 3,” in which Chinese doctors are shown trying to save Iron Man’s life. The report notes Chinese regulators were allowed to visit the film set and “advise” on creative choices.
The report also accuses the upcoming action movie sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” of mysteriously cutting a Taiwanese flag from a 2019 trailer. And it notes the superhero flick “Dr Strange,” axed a major Tibetan character over fears that it would jeopardize the film’s chances of making money in China.
Last month, American films raked in about $2.6 billion dollars in China, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In July, US attorney general William Barr slammed the largely liberal film industry for being “all too willing to collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party.”