Jewish World Review Nov. 29, 2012/ 15 Kislev, 5773
'Red Dawn' remake reflects China's box-office pull
By Barry Koltnow
http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) It must be a source of great comfort to know that no matter how desperate one's life might become, at least no one can force you to watch "Red Dawn."
I receive no such comfort, of course. It is my job to watch movies like "Red Dawn." In fact, I can recall sitting across a table from a beautiful young actress recently and thinking: "This is a nice perk of the job, but it hardly makes up for having to see "Red Dawn."
I am not speaking of the "Red Dawn" of 1984, a Cold War drama directed by John Milius that seems like "Citizen Kane" when compared to the 2012 remake, which invaded unsuspecting theaters in time for Thanksgiving.
In the original, a group of Colorado high school students form an insurgency after the Russian army, assisted by troops from Cuba and Nicaragua, invades the United States.
The remake, directed by Dan Bradley, stars hunky Aussie Chris Hemsworth ("Thor" and "The Avengers") and Josh Hutcherson ("The Hunger Games") as two young men from Spokane, Wash., who lead an underground movement to repel an invasion by North Korea.
There are rumors that the enemy in the remake was supposed to be China - a much more logical and formidable enemy - but was changed at the last minute for reasons we are about to explain.
To maintain this column's tax-exempt status, we are obliged periodically to educate and enlighten our readers, so here is a secretly recorded conversation between two movie studio executives with direct knowledge of the making of "Red Dawn."
The following conversation may have taken place:
STUDIO EXEC A: There is a problem with the "Red Dawn" remake.
STUDIO EXEC B: What's wrong; is hunky Chris unavailable?
A: No, he's still in.
B: Is it hunky Josh?
A: No, he's still attached to the project.
B: Then there is no problem with the "Red Dawn" remake. We make this stupid movie with a couple of unknown actors, and then our studio (MGM) goes bankrupt and delays the opening for three years. In the meantime, our unknown actors have become famous in other movies so we're sitting on top of a big holiday action movie with stars who didn't command movie-star salaries.
A: But we still have a problem.
B. What is it?
A. It's the Chinese.
B. What about them?
A. We can't portray them as the bad guys in the movie.
B. What do you mean? We already filmed the Chinese as the bad guys.
A. I know. But we have to change it.
A. We're catching a lot of flak from studio accountants.
B. What's their problem with the Chinese?
A. China's too big a movie market to insult. If we ever want to open this movie in China, and you know that we will, their government is going to frown upon being portrayed in such an unfavorable light.
B. You've got to be kidding me.
A. I don't kid about foreign markets. This could be worth a lot of money to the company, and there is no logic to insulting people who want to spend their money on our product.
B. I've never heard of such a thing. This is unprecedented.
A. Is it? I don't recall the villains in the "Twilight" movies being teenage girls.
B. That's ridiculous.
A. You think it's a coincidence that Nazis are used as movie villains so much? There is no potential box office among the Nazi demographic.
B. Now I've heard everything. So what is your solution?
A. We change the Chinese bad guys to North Korean bad guys. "Red Dawn" will never sell in North Korea anyway.
B. Who is going to believe that North Korea could mount a land invasion of the United States?
A. All of a sudden, you're worried about realism? Have you read the script of "Red Dawn"?
B. It's as real as wizards flying around on brooms.
A. But that was a fantasy. This is supposed to be a realistic political drama.
B. I must have missed that memo.
A. OK, it's just an obvious ploy to steal money from teenage movie audiences using hunky actors with big guns, but there has to be some semblance of realism.
B. Have YOU read the script of "Red Dawn?"
A. Regardless, we have to make the change.
B. But I don't understand how that can be done at this late date. Filming has been completed.
A. Allow me to introduce you to the digital age.
B. What do you mean?
A. You know those computer geeks down the hall? They can push a couple of buttons and digitally change the military uniforms from Chinese to North Korean.
B. Is that possible?
A. They could change you to North Korean right now.
B. That's frightening.
A. No, that's money.
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