Soon, the bright blue Na’vi might be turning red.
That is, they’d be red ideologically, if their communal ways couldn’t already be accused of such. James Cameron told Reuters that he is looking into placing a great deal of Avatar 2‘s production in China, where costs are lower and audiences are spending more on American films.
Recently, Disney, Marvel Studios, and DMG Entertainment announced that Iron Man 3 would be co-produced in China. Shooting on that film is expected to begin domestically in May, continuing in China during the late summer.
Countless Hollywood productions film overseas, where tax incentives commonly lure big budget productions. In recent years, mainstream Hollywood portraits of China have been increasingly kind, such as in the Roland Emmerich disaster movie 2012, where the Chinese are more or less responsible for the salvation of human civilization. Recently, MGM re-edited its long-shelved Red Dawn remake so that the invaders are North Korean instead of Chinese, a preposterous move for the story designed to avoid offending potential business partners.
The deal has yet to be finalized, with Cameron citing potential censorship issues.
“It all needs to be dealt with upfront. Here’s the script, this is what we’re doing, and if there’s a problem with that then I have to decide creatively if I’m going to accommodate, or if I’m going to pass,” he told Reuters. “I’m here to explore the idea of a co-production, find out what restrictions need to be met, find out what content guidelines need to be met, and find out the economic incentives are, and I will weigh them all out.”
Recently, the Chinese made a deal that would allow for the import of 14 premium format films, such as IMAX or 3-D. As of now, the Chinese film system only allows for the screening of 20 foreign films per year, which are often subject to the removal of scenes that could be deemed offensive to culturally conservative audiences. There is no rating system, so any film played in theaters is assumed to be fit for all audiences.
If Cameron goes through with production in China, it demonstrates a forgiving side. China pulled 2-D versions of the original film from theaters due its depiction of the forced eviction of a people, a sensitive issue in China. 3-D and IMAX versions continued their run, and the unedited DVD is widely available.