Nothing displays nationalism better than appeasement for a foreign marketplace.
The cultural detonation this past week has subsided, as the annual San Diego Comic Con just concluded. The 2019 affair was as expected with all manner of studio excess on display in the effort to pimp and promote their entertainment properties. One of the bigger news items was that Tom Cruise was on a panel to promote his film to be released in 2020, “Top Gun: Maverick”.
In one of the practiced methods of hype inducement Cruise “surprised” those in attendance to his panel by showing a new extended trailer for the film. It is a blend of new and arresting images to go along with numerous touchstone visuals from the original film.
There is a dose of curiosity that was spotted in one scene of this trailer. Mark MacKinnon, from the Globe And Mail noticed that there were some subtle alterations made to the iconic bomber jacket that the titular flying ace wears in both the original, and in this long-in-the-works sequel.
This is both a very minor visual clue, but also a significant indicator of Hollywood making artistic changes for the sake of the Chinese marketplace. The original jacket worn was said to originate with Maverick’s father, himself a decorated war hero. But is this actually a dose of ret-conning taking place, altering the film’s history to appease the communist authorities who oversee the film industry in China?
This seems to be the case. One of the other nuances of working in the Chinese theatrical marketplace is that the Chi-Coms offer a smaller percentage of the box office returns to Hollywood studios than most international territories. A Hollywood-produced film will only garner a 25% return of the ticket sales (most other countries the take is around 40-45%). If the movie is a Chinese co-production however then the Hollywood studio get a larger percentage of the business generated.
“Top Gun: Maverick” will fall into the latter category, as this sequel to a film many called jingoistic, was co-produced by the Chinese studio Tencent Pictures. So a blatantly American message film is seeing itself needing to contort its content, to curry favor with the communist leadership.
If you know of any better examples of the fractured morals and artistic standards from that industry we would love to hear of them.