“Mummy” pisses off the Chinese

July 11, 2008 at 9:24 am 3 comments

First off, I am more than a little surprised at the lack of buzz/talk in general about “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” which is being released in just three weeks. The first two movies in this franchise were huge at the box office, and while they’re definitely not the best movies ever, they were pretty fun to watch.

It’s not like this doesn’t have blockbuster potential — the thing cost $145 million, so I’m sure explosions and CGI and all that other stuff that puts butts in seats will be plentiful, but so far the advertising campaign has been week at best and no one seems to be talking about it. I don’t know; To me, it sounds like we’ve got all the makings of a major box office flop. Lucky for Brendan Fraser, he’s got the surprisingly well-rated “Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D” to fall back on this summer

Of course, that’s all just speculation. For all I know, this news I’m about to share with you will get people talking and excited about the flick.

According to a report at Variety, the Chinese government is demanding editing changes be done to “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” before it gets released. The whole thing is very under wraps, with no one coming out and saying what exactly needs to be changed before the film can be shown in China, which leads me to believe that it may be a fairly large, spoiler-filled piece of the movie.

Here’s what both sides had to say about this dispute:

China’s censors want certain changes in the cut of Universal‘s “The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” before they give it the greelight for release in that country.

The State Administration for Radio, Film and Television told Daily Variety that the mainland release of the pic is pending. No further details were given.

And:

A spokesman for Universal said: “Universal does not anticipate any obstacles to clearing the film for China and looks forward to releasing “The Mummy: Tomb of The Dragon Emperor” in the country where it was set and shot.”

Bill Kong, whose Edko Film is Universal’s distributor in Hong Kong and China, acknowledged the issues.

“It is too early for me to comment on this until the situation becomes clearer,” he said.

The article has some really interesting tidbits about the difficulty Universal faced in dealing with the Chinese governmental authorities while making this movie. It says that execs from both ends met to discuss the script and make changes before the film was even made, settling on a final version that was “less political and more focused on fantasy than real history.”

It also said that things like ghosts are “taboo” in Chinese films, unless they are a part of “fantasy elements or a dream” sequences, but film studios are willing to deal with these hardships in order to crack the ever-growing Chinese entertainment market.

These are the kinds of things you know happen around the world but don’t really think about until you are forced to. The fact that the Chinese government shuns depictions of not only ghosts and such but also Chinese history is shocking to me. It’s truly stunning the lengths they will go to to stunt Free Speech within their boundaries.

In any case, they must have a very serious issue with the content of this movie, because when a big-budget flick like this is shot in your country, you stand to gain a lot of very good things from its release, both domestically and globally. For the Chinese to raise a stink about it, I would venture to guess whatever they want changed is a pretty big deal.

Maybe the Chinese government is just as upset as I am that Universal thought they could get away with a Mummy movie not set in Egypt. Seriously, what the hell? I did a little bit of research and found this out:

The Chinese and the Westerners have also been known to mummify their dead, although their mummies were not as well preserved as those of the Egyptians.

Ok, so the Chinese did mummify their dead, but still. Maybe it’s just me, but if you want to stay true to the genre, which I believe was their intent when they first started pumping out this franchise, how can you steer the plot away from the ancient Egyptians?

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Entry filed under: sequel, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Tags: , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gilbert Snuffleupagus  |  July 11, 2008 at 11:12 am

    “Journey to the Center of the Earth” looked like the worst film ever, judging from the previews before WALL-E. Why on earth is it getting good reviews?

    And the new “Mummy” movie sounds absolutely terrible (which isn’t a surprise, the whole series looks dumb) but at least they’re thinking outside the box a little in terms of the setting. I think that would make it more interesting than if they kept it in the same place.

    Reply
  • 2. Gilbert Snuffleupagus  |  July 11, 2008 at 11:12 am

    And Brendan Fraser doesn’t have an “i” in his last name, I don’t think.

    Reply
  • 3. media boy  |  August 5, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    they actually took it seriously? why?

    Reply

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