IRON MAN 3′s Chinese-Only Scenes Amount to Four Minutes of Throwaway Characters and Product Placement

by     Posted 1 year, 122 days ago

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Ever since we heard that Disney/Marvel would be releasing a different version of Shane Black’s Iron Man 3 in China, we’ve been keeping an eye out for what exactly those differences would amount to.  Early feedback indicates that the extra four minutes of Chinese-only footage is heavy on product placement, light on character development and more or less absent on plot.  Though Chinese audiences are scratching their heads over the blatant homegrown advertising of Chinese products in their screenings, the film itself – and star Robert Downey Jr. in particular – is being received quite warmly.

Also starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Stephanie Szostak, James Badge Dale, Jon Favreau and Sir Ben Kingsley, Iron Man 3 opens in 3D Stateside on May 3rd.  Hit the jump for a recap of the Chinese-only footage.

iron-man-3-fan-bingbingHere’s a recap of the Chinese-only scenes from Iron Man 3 (via THR):

  • When audiences took their seats for the film, they were greeted with the following question: “What does Iron Man rely on to revitalize his energy?” The answer? “Gu Li Duo.”  The first of multiple blatant product placements in the film is for a milk drink which is available for less than $1 a carton in convenience stores across mainland China.
  • Connected to that particular product is a character named Dr. Wu* (Wang Xueqi) who is seen consuming a carton of Gu Li Duo. (*No word on if this Dr. Wu is fiendish.)
  • Apparently, Sir Ben Kingsley’s character, The Mandarin, has been changed enough for the Chinese version as to avoid any potential derogatory insinuations towards Chinese people.
  • Dr. Wu also appears while having a telephone conversation in Chinese from his office in Beijing, while the television behind him shows Iron Man being cheered by schoolchildren in one of the capital’s landmarks.
  • Dr. Wu has one more scene towards the end of the film, having a short conversation with his unnamed assistant (played by Fan Bingbing).
  • Other Chinese-only branding in the extra footage includes shots of Zoomlion (a heavy industry company in China) and some TV sets and mobile phones made by Chinese manufacturer TCL.

Not exactly footage that’s vital to the plot nor all that encouraging to future co-productions between U.S. and Chinese filmmakers.  In fact, Iron Man 3 is not officially a co-production, but was a joint production between Disney-owned Marvel Pictures and the Beijing-based DMG Entertainment.  Since China only allows 34 foreign films into the country a year, including 14 that are in the enhanced formats of 3-D or in IMAX (LA Times), we’ll see if the future Hollywood blockbuster to reach their shoresMichael Bay’s Transformers 4 – fares any better.

iron-man-3-wang-xuequi-gwyneth-paltrow-don-cheadleHere’s the official synopsis for Iron Man 3:

Marvel’s Iron Man 3 pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. When Stark finds his personal world destroyed at his enemy’s hands, he embarks on a harrowing quest to find those responsible. This journey, at every turn, will test his mettle. With his back against the wall, Stark is left to survive by his own devices, relying on his ingenuity and instincts to protect those closest to him. As he fights his way back, Stark discovers the answer to the question that has secretly haunted him: does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?

Click here to catch up on all of our Iron Man 3 coverage, or peruse the recent links below:

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  • Anonymous

    Wow ! Even the transcript felt like a huge waste of time !

  • DoubleA

    I saw Iron Man Three in an Asian country and thankfully I didn’t see any of this BS. Can you imagine if they left any of this garbage in for the Stateside release? What a joke. I wonder if a 3rd unit shot these scenes. Not sure exactly why, but this story upsets me. I guess we are peering in to the future of film-making…

    • sedna

      what future do you speak of? this has been happening the moment people realized you can place products in films, let alone sell products in commercials. Also don’t forget the fact that this is a major blockbuster – not to mention the ugly fact here is that if you want to secure funding for a film, you better advertise. Film industry is a business – most people forget that. Live with it or if you don’t like what you see – don’t pay more than a second thinking about it and enjoy your film.

      • Clay

        He’s probably referring to multinational product placement and alternative cuts. This Chinese partnership with Hollywood is only going to get more egregious…just wait for TF 4.

  • Hmmm

    I saw the Chinese version here in Ningbo. Jesus, you’re complaining about product placement? These scenes were tasteful compared to Transformers, James Bond, etc.

  • sedna

    what future do you speak of? this has been happening the moment people realized you can place products in films, let alone sell products in commercials. Also don\’t forget the fact that this is a major blockbuster – not to mention the ugly fact here is that if you want to secure funding for a film, you better advertise. Film industry is a business – most people forget that. Live with it or if you don\’t like what you see – don\’t pay more than a second thinking about it and enjoy your film.

  • CrushYourEnemies

    Freaking commies…

    • apu3

      Haha i hear that!

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  • wafflehaus

    B/c the movie wouldn’t make nearly a billion dollars in ticket sales anyway, including hundreds of millions of dollars in profit for everyone involved without all the additional funding from advertisers and DMG Entertainment. Seems like greed to me, but maybe i’m just generalizing.

  • wafflehaus

    B/c the movie wouldn\’t make nearly a billion dollars in ticket sales anyway, allowing for hundreds of millions of dollars in profit for everyone involved without all the additional funding from advertisers and DMG Entertainment? Seems like greed to me, but maybe i\’m just generalizing.

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