MGM Doesn’t Want RED DAWN Remake to Piss Off China; Will Piss Off North Korea Instead

     March 16, 2011


The upcoming remake of the 1984 action flick Red Dawn had changed the lead communist villain from Russia to China.  But MGM, the studio behind the remake, has concluded that China, commie as they may be, still offers the possibility of lucrative international box office.  With this in mind, the studio is making it so that the country who invades the U.S. this time around is…North Korea.  The LA Times reports:

The filmmakers now are digitally erasing Chinese flags and military symbols from “Red Dawn,” substituting dialogue and altering the film to depict much of the invading force as being from North Korea, an isolated country where American media companies have no dollars at stake.

Hit the jump for more on this silly change.  The remake of Red Dawn stars Chris Hemsworth, Adrianne Palicki, Josh Hutcherson, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

red-dawn-remake-posterAccording to the LA Times, MGM has begun showing the film to potential buyers at other studios, but executives are reportedly concerned that they can’t risk picking it up because of the potential blowback from China, which raked in $1.5 billion for studios in international box office revenue last year.

In the remake, teenagers in Spokane, Washington team up to fight an invading force comprised of Russia and China (because Russia is still secretly communist, apparently).  But now, MGM will spend less than a $1 million to play up the involvement of North Korea in the battle:

People close to the picture said the changes will cost less than $1 million and involve changing an opening sequence summarizing the story’s fictional backdrop, re-editing two scenes and using digital technology to transform many Chinese symbols to Korean. It’s impossible to eliminate all references to China, the people said, though the changes will give North Korea a much larger role in the coalition that invades the U.S.

I wonder if the film will try to gloss over the fact that people from China and North Korea have different facial structures.   At least in MGM’s desire to not piss off China, they’re willing to basically say “Yeah, Americans can’t tell Asians apart anyway and hopefully U.S. audiences are stupid enough to think that North Korea has more power than China.”  I suppose the new opening sequence will have to explain how in this alternate universe, China follows North Korea’s lead in an invasion of the U.S.  Also, North Korea isn’t communist.  It’s a military dictatorship, but pish-posh on those details. [Correction: The U.S. State Department says North Korea is a “Highly centralized communist state,” while China is a “Communist party-led state”.  My bad.]

My confusion stems from the fact that if you pull the invading force so far out of reality, then why bother making them a real country at all?  The original Red Dawn played on real Cold War fears, and today there’s a legitimate concern about China’s treatment of its citizens and how much of our debt they hold.  North Korea, on the other hand, is an irritating distraction on the world stage every time its leader throws a tantrum and scares the bejeezus out of South Korea and Japan.

Mike Vollman, executive vice president of worldwide marketing tells the LA Times,

“MGM has been working with the film ‘Red Dawn’s’ director and producers to make the most commercially viable version of the film for audiences worldwide.  We want to ensure the most people possible are able to experience it.”*

*Except for North Koreans.

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