How Sony sanitized Adam Sandler movie to please Chinese censors

(From Reuters)

By Clare Baldwin and Kristina Cooke

In a 2013 script for the movie “Pixels,” intergalactic aliens blast a hole in one of China’s national treasures – the Great Wall.

That scene is gone from the final version of the sci-fi comedy, starring Adam Sandler and released by Sony Pictures Entertainment this week in the United States. The aliens strike iconic sites elsewhere, smashing the Taj Mahal in India, the Washington Monument and parts of Manhattan.

Sandler in movie scene

Sandler in movie scene

Sony executives spared the Great Wall because they were anxious to get the movie approved for release in China, a review of internal Sony Pictures emails shows. It is just one of a series of changes aimed at stripping the movie of content that, Sony managers feared, Chinese authorities might have construed as casting their country in a negative light.

Along with the Great Wall scene, out went a scene in which China was mentioned as a potential culprit behind an attack, as well as a reference to a “Communist-conspiracy brother” hacking a mail server – all to increase the chances of getting “Pixels” access to the world’s second-biggest box office.

“Even though breaking a hole on the Great Wall may not be a problem as long as it is part of a worldwide phenomenon, it is actually unnecessary because it will not benefit the China release at all. I would then, recommend not to do it,” Li Chow, chief representative of Sony Pictures in China, wrote in a December 2013 email to senior Sony executives.

Li’s message is one of tens of thousands of confidential Sony emails and documents that were hacked and publicly released late last year. The U.S. government blamed North Korea for the breach. In April, WikiLeaks pixelspublished the trove of emails, memos and presentations from the Sony hack in an online searchable archive.

“We are not going to comment on stolen emails or internal discussions about specific content decisions,” said a spokesman for Sony Pictures, a unit of Tokyo-based Sony Corp. “There are myriad factors that go into determining what is best for a film’s release, and creating content that has wide global appeal without compromising creative integrity is top among them.”

Chinese government and film-industry officials didn’t respond to requests for comment for this story. Read more

 



Categories: Asia Times News & Features, China

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  • ifigeniaa

    If the scripwriter had wrote an intergalactic aliens blast a hole in Dimona or White House, than it would spare Sony the shameful act of selling freedom of the art or compromising creative integrity for money.

  • Sgs

    Sony executives should be jailed for life for unleashing such a horrible movie on innocent civilians. And every day they should be made to watch this movie in their jail cell so that they think about what they did.

  • James Jerome

    Just like a Jew to try and demonize the new world economic order leader.

  • Daniel Berg

    Freedom of the art is an illusion made by Capitalist system, what Sony or other company or people are doing is: Selling the Idea of # Freedom of art#

  • Bobserver

    First of all there have been changes and additions to Great Wall of China for over a thousand years. Secondly, parts of the Wall have been blasted and worn away several times either by invaders, time and weather. Thirdly, it would have been better to have censored out Sandler from the movie 🙂

  • George Silversurfer

    Sony can sanitize to please aliens….still a stinker.