9 Movie Moments Completely Different In Other Countries

How filmmakers overcome cultural barriers.

Buzz Lightyear

Some movie tropes translate to awesome in any language. Big explosions, superheroes kicking ass and star-crossed love stories have universal appeal, and are served up to cinemagoers from the US to Japan unchanged.

But when it comes to the finer details of film, what goes down at home won't necessarily be a smash hit aboard, so studios are often forced to make subtle alterations to the cut they're distributing with specific territories in mind.

Cultural boundaries make certain scenes too controversial for consumption in some countries, and subtle all-American in-jokes are likely to fly over heads in China. This kind of content is usually edited out or drastically altered for other markets.

This is a frequent occurrence in animated movies such as Disney and Pixar's output since changes are more straightforward to implement than with live-action films. Rather than fork out for expensive reshoots, the studio need only order tweaks from the art department and add fresh dialogue, often from a region-specific voice actor.

That said, it isn't unheard of in live-action. In fact, one of the biggest movie franchises around includes films which differ depending on where you're watching them...

9. Iron Man 3 Had Extra Scenes In China

Buzz Lightyear
Marvel Studios

In the Chinese market, Iron Man 3 was a co-production between Marvel Studios and local studio DMG Entertainment, and having them on board altered the movie's content in the Far East to the tune of four extra pointless minutes.

The additional footage was intended to boost the movie's appeal to Chinese fans, and it included bonus airtime for Asian characters Dr. Wu and his nurse as well as blatant product placement for the popular milk brand Gu Li Duo.

Dr. Wu has additional scenes in the Chinese edition of Iron Man 3, including one where he holds a phone conversation with Jarvis, and another whether he performs acupuncture on an injured Tony Stark. Neither have any bearing on the plot.

The lengths Marvel went to to appeal to this market raises the question of whether it influenced the film's depiction of The Mandarin, who is traditionally Oriental in the comics, and not always presented in a racially sensitive way.

In Iron Man 3, Sir Ben Kingsley plays a faux version of the character, set up by the movie's real villain, Guy Pearce's Aldrich Killian, as a ruse. No doubt this went down better in Asia than a direct adaptation of Stark's nemesis would have.

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