In the face of China’s great film demand, the filmmaking titan is making changes in scripts, deleting certain scenes among other actions, with the aim of corresponding their content to China’s censors, which serve as a gateway to 1.4 billion of Chinese consumers.
The measures Hollywood is taking are as minimum as changing the Taiwanese flag from Tom Cruise’s jacket for “Top Gun: Maverick”, to completely modify the plot of “World War Z”, that suggests China as the origin of a zombie virus.
In addition, the report shows another issue regarding the changes: the removal of sensitive subjects like Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, Hong Kong politics, and LGBTQ depictions, since the Chinese censorship is not welcoming to these matters.
So as to not affect some movies destined to Chinese theaters, filmmakers are also prohibiting films that do not comply with the Chinese market, of course taking into account punishing measures.
Pen American’s report said "Steadily, a new set of mores has taken hold in Hollywood, one in which appeasing Chinese government investors and gatekeepers has simply become a way of doing business."
Pen American is a global association with the ideal of protecting the freedom of expression for writers and artists around the globe.
The Chinese government authorizes only certain foreign movies to provide to their viewers each year, and after America, China is the second country in the world that is keenest to watching films.
As a matter of fact, it would be predictable that American producers and directors would want to adjust their content to please China’s censorship. For example, in the movie “2012”, the supply of Chinese’s arcs were the key to save the world; in “Gravity” the protagonist makes it through thanks to a Chinese Space Station that rescues her.
However, Pen American’s report also notes that Quentin Tarantino’s film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” was "pulled from China's movie release schedule only a week before the film was slated to be released within the country, reportedly in response to the movie's insufficiently heroic depiction of Bruce Lee," but Tarantino did not approve of remaking the movie so as to placate China's National Film Administration, “nixing the movie's chances of a China release".
Screenwriter Howard Rodman, Writers Guild of America’s previous leader, said in the report that "When the story of a director refusing to participate is newsworthy, you know that this is a pervasive phenomenon."
The report also claimed that Hollywood studios should lay aside making the adapted versions for the Chinese market into the official version to provide to the rest of the countries.