RED DAWN Remake Villains Changed from Chinese to North Korean Invaders
Published: March 16, 2011 - 7:27am
In an attempt to capitalize on international box office profit, MGM has decided to make a post-production change to the film's invading antagonists for the much delayed property based on the 1984 film of the same name.
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Edwin Hodge and Alyssa Diaz, Red Dawn follows a group of teenagers looking to save their town from an invasion of foreign soldiers by taking refuge in the woods and going on the offensive. Unlike the 1984 film which pitted the teens against the Russians, the new band of "Wolverines" (the nickname the group calls themselves) were to take on Chinese invaders.
In June 2010, the theatrical release of the film was delayed due to Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s financial difficulties. The delay was worsened by growing controversy in China after excerpts of the script were leaked, and caused the film to draw sharp criticism from one of the leading Chinese state-run newspapers; which ran headlines such as "U.S. reshoots Cold War movie to demonize China" and "American movie plants hostile seeds against China".
Now, with a November 2011 release still up in the air, MGM has decided on a last minute change had may help garner international distributors. According to a recent report by the Los Angeles Times, producers for Red Dawn are moving ahead with a drastic and expensive switch of the film's antagonists from Chinese to North Koreans:
"In the last few weeks, MGM has begun showing "Red Dawn" to potential buyers at other studios. Several people who have seen the movie but requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record said they couldn't risk distributing it given the potential blowback in China. The feedback led to MGM's decision to make the highly unusual changes. Although it's common to reshape movies in the editing room, there's no known precedent for changing the nationality of an entire group of characters.
"People close to the picture said the changes will cost less than $1 million and involve changing an opening sequence summarizing the story's fictional backdrop, re-editing two scenes and using digital technology to transform many Chinese symbols to Korean. It's impossible to eliminate all references to China, the people said, though the changes will give North Korea a much larger role in the coalition that invades the U.S."
The publication went on to say that, if a distributor cannot be found in time, Red Dawn -- which was filmed back in 2009 -- may end up as a direct-to-video release.