Red Dawn Remake Changes Enemy from China to North Korea

Will MGM’s remake of Red Dawn ever see the light of day? At the moment the movie’s release remains up in the air, thanks primarily to the fact that MGM declared bankruptcy late last year. However, they’ve recently been shopping it around Hollywood, trying to find a new home for the project. There’s just one problem: no one wants to release the film for fear of upsetting China. The remake updates the communist invaders to be Chinese instead of South American, and although the Chinese government hasn’t directly issued any complaints about it, no one wants to risk losing their business. Now it looks like MGM’s solution will be to digitally remove all traces of Chinese flags and symbols and change the enemies to be North Korean instead. Problem solved!

You may recall that last year a government-run Chinese newspaper caused a bit of a stir when they ran several stories criticizing the film’s decision to make the invading forces Chinese. At the time it didn’t seem to bother the film’s producers, but now that it is preventing them from actually selling the film, their hand is being forced. Last year, China was the fifth-biggest box office market outside of the United States, and no studio wants to risk losing that. Still, with the Chinese government only allowing 20 non-Chinese films in theatres per year, would Red Dawn even end up actually being one of them? Either way, I guess it is probably the business relationship that they need to preserve.

I always thought it was a bit surprising (and a bit ballsy) that they had chosen a real country as the outside threat as opposed to a fictional one, but changing it to North Korea would still maintain the film’s sense of reality. The changes will supposedly cost less than $1 million, and will involve changing an opening sequence, re-editing a couple of scenes, and digitally altering Chinese symbols to be Korean. They will apparently be unable to remove every reference to China however, and they will still be a part of the coalition that invades the U.S. Ironically, the video game Homefront was just released this week, and it also features a story written by John Milius where the U.S. is invaded by North Korea. What do you think, is this decision to digitally alter the enemy forces good, bad or irrelevant?

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  • Name Withheld

    They should have used Mexico, where an invasion force disguised as a slow and steady stream of illegal immigrants eventually overtakes the American population…that would be more authentic.

    But seriously doesn’t maintaining China as the Red Dawn villain mean that China is viewed as a super power?

    Using North Korea is a cop-out and all this hyper-sensitivity is ruining our culture. The only villains left are North Korea and aliens.

    Do you really think the Russians care about being depicted as a global dominating superpower as in the original anymore?

    It’s entertainment!

    Lighten up people!

  • Hugh

    Grrr…I would have gotten away with it all …if it wasn’t for those pesky North koreans said the disgruntled fairground proprietor after his unmasking by Scooby and the gang.

  • La Menthe

    So typical in a country like the US. And when you say: why can’t Americans ever be the evil guys in films and games, which is more realistic as USA is by far the country with biggest criminal(that includes terrorism) record after WW2, the answer is ”it’s just a game/movie”. That is bullshit, because if that was the fact, then how come no game releaser or big film company seem to ever release any big projects where the US is actually an enemy. What they instead do is make games that is consistent with American (or should I say Western) portrayal of the world, or ”manufacture the consent”, as Lippman so finely put it. Even in history this is the case (remember Black Ops, where we fought Russian backed Nazis? Truth is we were the ones giving Nazis amnesty to do our dirty work, not the Russians. We even used them in our terrorist campaign in Latin-America, people like Klaus Barbie, known in German-occupied France as ‘’The Butcher of Lyon’’). But who cares, as long as we get our weekly stupid entertainment. That’s all we want: Circus and bread.
    It’s funny to look back at Rambo 3. Rambo went to the ’’freedom fighting’’ (as they were called by pretty much any western mass media at that time) mujahedeen in Afghanistan against evil Soviet Forces. Now the same extremist islamists that we brought over from Saudi-Arabia into Pakistan and Afghanistan, are fighting us. Now, suddenly, we are the freedom fighters who are to liberate the Afghani people and women.

    Oh, Jesus Christ, I’m going way off topic here. Too much caffeine.

  • La Menthe

    >>”Still, with the Chinese government only allowing 20 non-Chinese films in theatres per year, would Red Dawn even end up actually being one of them?”

    Its funny how many people reading this would imagine there would be 20 American films in China per year. But anyone with a broad film mind understands that Americans are far from the ones making good films. Latin-American cinema (Brazil), European cinema (France and Eastern-Europe) and Asian cinema (South-Korea, Japan and Iran) make really great films that very few over here hear anything about. Quality-wise they are much better, and based on that I bet a very small number (2-4) is American. And you are right; the chance of it ever being Red Dawn is miniscule.
    I think the reason for the change is political. Just like when Israel commits a crime that awakens big attention in the Israeli-lobbies promote a new anti-Semite book and new Holocaust-film titles. Media (and especially Mass Media) is a big instrument in public relations in the United States, so this is not exactly something that was unexpected.

  • Yasser Serious

    Is that Token from South Park ????

  • In this case, studios are forced to play politics. It’s really just a bottom line decision. China is the fastest growing market for US films and since they only allow 20 movies a year studios definitely want to get on the government’s good side. Sure, there is little chance RED DAWN would even play in China, but any studio that releases it would have a hard time getting any of their other movies picked as one of the 20.

  • Burgus

    Darren Aronofsky quits Wolverine.. not unexpected

  • Why didn’t they just keep it to the Soviets? Who cares if it’s 2011 and there’s no Soviet Union anymore. IT’s a MOVIE. It doesn’t have to reflect the real world.

  • 1138sw

    “but changing it to North Korea would still maintain the film’s sense of reality.”

    Sean how can that make any sense? North Korea, granted could have an army of 5 million ready for combat, if half their military wasn’t starving to death. And how would they get their troops over here to invade? They barely have a navy let alone the necessary number of ships to get their troops over here. Their equipment is ancient relying on old Soviet and Chinese ships and artillery. They can’t even properly launch a ballistic missile properly.

    And the Chinese would never have any military operations with the N. Koreans. They know they are unstable and nuts! Trading partner and ideological ally is one thing…but military partnership…that is most likely a no no.

    Now if you were sarcastic I apologize for any misunderstanding. : )

  • I mainly just meant that they didn’t resort to creating a fictional country. But you’re right, I think the movie would potentially be more effective with China as the main invading force since it’s a much more plausible scenario. Or really, the *only* plausible scenario.

  • B.J.

    Just when you thought Hollywood couldn’t go any lower… Who’s America’s daddy? That’s right, China is. I guess the new premise will be that swarms of North Koreans float across the ocean on make shift rafts and attack the U.S. because they are starving to death and want cable T.V.

  • Mike

    couldnt they have at least tried to make it look like that picture was taken on location somewhere?

  • Sean

    The Homefront video game went thru the same problem original villains where also chinese

  • Jsin

    I, for one, welcome our new Chinese overlords.

  • Xidor

    I thought after Rocky IV there would be world peace. Rocky fought so no one else had to and it is a shame that we are still having this dialogue.

  • Jacob

    Wow so now the enemy is north korea, this makes no sense, at least with China as the invader there was some credibility as well as a realistic fear factor.
    with north korea all that is out the window.
    This film will totally bomb now.
    What a bunch of sellout wussies MGM are.

  • Okami

    lighten up huh. were too sensitive huh? well lets make a movie called BLUE DAWN.
    A film that talks about a president who lies his way to war solely on WMDs to invade
    a nation for its oil and kills 1000s and wastes billions.

    And lets make a 2012 film about how the country is falling apart and deregulation is causing
    people to lose everything to predatory companies.

    well in its all theres more ammunition to make these films about a failed nation
    and increasing debt started by the previous administration.

    capitalism,racism thats what i see in America.

    something never shown in media in the good ol usa