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In Max Brooks’ “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War”, China is mentioned as the possible origin of the zombie outbreak, with Patient Zero (the first case of zombie infection) originating from the country. And while the upcoming “World War Z” movie with Brad Pitt has been changed quite a bit from the books, it apparently still contained a reference to China.
Well, not anymore.
According to The Wrap, Paramount has set a precedent when dealing with China’s infamous movie censors: they’ve preemptively taken any mention of China as the cause of the zombie outbreak out of the film completely, so now some random country (maybe North Korea again) will get the blame for (possibly) starting the zombie apocalypse. Or, this being Hollywood, they’ll probably just point the finger at Uncle Sam, who usually gets the blame for every zombie outbreak anyways, usually while trying to create super soldiers or super weapons or some such.
Movie studios voluntarily snipping films in an attempt to appease Chinese censors so they can get their movies in front of the country’s 1.3 billion (and counting) potential customers is nothing new. “Cloud Atlas”, “Skyfall”, and “Looper” have all recently had scenes taken out, and “Red Dawn” even switched its villains from Chinese to North Koreans. But this is the first case of a studio preemptively editing their film.
So why are movie studios kowtowing to China? Because the country just passed Japan as the biggest overseas revenue generator in 2010, with $2.7 billion buckaroos. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s about $2.7 billion more than what North Korea adds to the studio till.
Ironically, the film might not even get a showing in China. According to one of The Wrap’s quoted experts, the film’s content (and any foreign film involving “magic, horror or superstition”) is frowned upon by the Chinese Government. So, basically, all this may be for naught. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants?
“World War Z”, starring Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos, opens June 21, 2013.