UPDATE 1-How Sony sanitized Adam Sandler movie to please Chinese censors

24 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Sony Tweaked Adam Sandler Movie Pixels to Avoid Embarrassing China.

Sony altered a scene in its newly released film Pixels in order to avoid running afoul of censors in China, now the second-largest film market after the United States.

Hongkong/Illinois In a 2013 screenplay to use on the movie “Pixels,” intergalactic strange creatures break a crack a single of China’s countrywide secrets – the Great Wall. That arena runs out that are caused by the concluding variety of the science fiction wit, starring Adam Sandler and launched by Sony Pictures Entertainment immediately inside the United States. Other changes included removing a mention of China as the potential perpetrator of an attack during the movie and a reference to a cyberattack by a “Communist-conspiracy brother.” Emails sent in 2013 also showed that a Sony executive wanted to alter the plot of the studio’s action film RoboCop by locating a weapon company in the movie in Southeast Asia rather than China.

It is only one associated with a sequence of changes aimed toward undressing the movie of website content that is actually, Sony executives terrifying, Chinese bases may well have interpreted as throwing such a place within a pessimistic easy. In a statement to Reuters, Sony said that creating content that has wide global appeal but doesn’t compromise creative integrity is a top priority as it develops films. I would then, recommend not to do it,” Li Chow, chief representative of Sony Pictures in China, wrote in a December 2013 email to senior Sony executives. The emails reveal how studio executives discussed ways to make other productions, including the 2014 remake of “RoboCop,” more palatable to Chinese authorities.

The Sony emails provide a behind-the-scenes picture of the extent to which one of the world’s leading movie studios exercised self-censorship as its executives tried to anticipate how authorities in Beijing might react to their productions. A scene showing a Chinese doctor who helps the main character in “Iron Man 3,” for example, was lengthened in the Chinese version and included popular Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, a comparison of the Chinese and international versions shows. Recommendation is to change all versions as if we only change the China version, we set ourselves up for the press to call us out for this when bloggers invariably compare the versions and realize we changed the China setting just to pacify that market.” Efforts by the U.S. motion-picture industry to woo China come as the ruling Communist Party under President Xi Jinping is engaged in the biggest crackdown on civil society in more than two decades. About a dozen human rights lawyers were taken into police custody this month, and hundreds of dissidents have been detained since Xi took power in late 2012. The removal of scenes from “Pixels” thought to be offensive to Beijing shows how global audiences are effectively being subjected to standards set by China, whose government rejects the kinds of freedoms that have allowed Hollywood to flourish. “I think the studios have grown pretty savvy,” said Peter Shiao, founder and CEO of Orb Media Group, an independent film studio focussed on Hollywood-Chinese co-productions. “For a type of movie, particularly the global blockbusters, they are not going to go and make something that the Chinese would reject for social or political reasons.

That is already a truism.” Sony’s emails were hacked ahead of the release of “The Interview,” a comedy depicting the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. President Barack Obama warned of the dangers of self-censorship. (A Sony spokesman said the studio cancelled the theatrical release “because theatre owners refused to show it.”) Ultimately, Sony released the movie. “If somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don’t like, or news reports that they don’t like,” Obama said at his year-end White House press briefing. “Or even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended. China is on course to set a new record this year: Box office receipts were $3.3 billion in the first half of 2015, China’s state-run media reported. To get on the circuit in China, a movie must win the approval of the Film Bureau, which is headed by Zhang Hongsen, a domestic television screenwriter and senior Communist Party member. “Foreign films come to China one after another like aircraft carriers; we are facing great pressure and challenges,” Zhang said last year. “We must make the Chinese film industry bigger and stronger.” The Film Bureau is part of the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), which reports directly to China’s cabinet, the State Council.

The email outlines new measures that were being implemented by SAPPRFT officials: “What is different is now they are clearly making an attempt to try to address other areas not been specified before, decadence, fortune telling, hunting, and most dramatically, sexuality,” Panitch wrote. In early 2014, the studio was faced with a demand to remove for Chinese audiences a key but disturbing scene from “RoboCop,” the story of a part-man, part-machine police officer. “Censorship really hassling us on Robocop…trying to cut out the best and most vital scene where they open up his suit and expose what is left of him as a person,” reads a January 28, 2014 email written by international executive Steven O’Dell. “Hope to get through it with only shortening up the scene a bit. In the final version, which moviegoers are now getting to see, the officials speculate that Russia, Iran or Google could be to blame. “China can be mentioned alongside other super powers but they may not like ‘Russia and China don’t have this kind of technology’,” Li wrote in the email. “And in view of recent news on China hacking into government servers, they may object to ‘a communist-conspiracy brother hacked into the mail server…’” Around the same time, the emails show Sony executives also discussed relocating a car-chase scene involving the video-game character Pac-Man from Tokyo to Shanghai, and whether that might help with the release date in China. That plot element, Bruer noted, might make Chinese officials squirm. “The reality of the situation is that China will probably never clear the film for censorship,” wrote Bruer. “Reasons being the big Military machine of the U.S. saving one U.S. citizen.

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