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

     May 1, 2013

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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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