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?