The Chinese box office is growing at a rapid rate and over recent years studios have been trying to get their hands on more yuan. One way to achieve this is by becoming a Chinese co-production in the hope of getting around China’s import quotas and earning a maximum share of the box office revenues.
Marvel and Disney were flirting with this idea for Iron Man 3 having teamed up with Beijing-based DMG Entertainment, hired Chinese actors Fan Bingbing and Wang Xueqi, and shot several scenes in the country. Now Marvel have announced they won’t try to gain “co-production” status, but they will be releasing a different version of Iron Man 3 in China.
Here’s Marvel’s statement:
Marvel Studios and DMG announced that a Chinese version of Iron Man 3 will be released in China on a date to be announced in the near future. DMG, a Chinese media and entertainment company, collaborated with Marvel Studios on the Chinese elements in the film, and is marketing and distributing the film in China. While Marvel and DMG have decided not to apply for co-production status in China, the film includes significant Chinese elements. Renowned Chinese actor Wang Xueqi will appear in both the studio’s Chinese version of the film and in its international and domestic US version. Both versions of the film include Iron Man 3 footage filmed in Beijing in December. The Chinese version of the film will also feature a special appearance of China’s top actress, Fan Bingbing, and will offer specially prepared bonus footage made exclusively for the Chinese audience. Marvel Studios’ experience working on this film with Fan Bingbing and Wang Xueqi and in shooting in China has been very positive and has created a springboard for future collaboration with China’s talented stars and its growing film and television industry. The Iron Man cast and filmmakers look forward to bringing Iron Man back to China.
Chinese regulators recently announced they’d be cracking down on so called “co-productions” by making the requirements stricter. At least one-third of the budget must come from China and Chinese investment, the main cast must be Chinese, and part of the movie must be shot in the country. Studios can try to facilitate this, but by hyping up Chinese elements of the movie they risk alienating the rest of the international audience, something Marvel wanted to avoid here with Iron Man 3.