What do you give the country with the world's fastest-growing audience? A special cut of your movie.
When Iron Man 3 hits Chinese cinemas later this year, it will look markedly different than it does in the rest of the world. Marvel Studios (which is owned by Disney) announced this week that it plans to release a Chinese version of the film that will feature ”significant Chinese elements,” including bonus footage made specifically for the country and an appearance by Fan Bingbing, a popular homegrown star who was also recently cast in Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. (Marvel declined to comment.)
This isn’t the first time a major franchise has made an effort to appeal to foreign audiences — and it certainly won’t be the last. China has become the world’s second most lucrative film market after the U.S. Its total box office revenue increased 36 percent to $2.7 billion in 2012, and at its current rate of expansion China will overtake North America in box office revenue in 2017. ”American movie studios are trying to get into China in a bigger way,” says Gitesh Pandya, editor of BoxOfficeGuru.com. ”This is a way of giving special treatment to open the doors even more.”