‘Iron Man 3′: Chinese version unavailable to U.S. audiences, for now

April 24, 2013 | 4:55 p.m.

Gwyneth Paltrow, left, and Robert Downey Jr. reprise their roles as Pepper Potts and Tony Stark in "Iron Man 3." (Marvel Studios)

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark in a scene from "Iron Man 3." (Marvel Studios)

Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as Tony Stark in a scene from "Iron Man 3." (Marvel Studios)

Iron Man and Pepper Potts share a moment in "Iron Man 3." (Zade Rosenthal / Marvel Studios)

The Mandarin draws power from 10 rings he found among the ruins of an alien vessel. (Robert De La Torre / Marvel Comics)

The Mandarin made his comics debut in 1964's "Tales of Suspense" No. 50, by Stan Lee and Don Heck. (Marvel Comics)

With his 10 powerful rings and aspirations of world domination, the Mandarin became Iron Man's arch nemesis. Above, the cover for "Tales of Suspense" No. 55. (Marvel Comics)

“Iron Man 3″ will open in the U.S. and in China on May 3 — a rare feat of so-called day-and-date timing. But for all of the pre-production publicity about how Disney’s Marvel Entertainment and China’s DMG Entertainment joined forces to make the superhero sequel an international collaboration, the few extra sequences shot for the Chinese version of the movie won’t be part of its American release.

In an interview Monday, Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios and the producer of “Iron Man 3,” described the scenes as “a very minor extra story line” that involves a character named Dr. Wu (Wang Xueqi). Actress Fan Bingbing has a role as well, as a woman close to the doctor.

“Iron Man 3″ co-writer and director Shane Black did not direct the scenes that filmed in China, and star Robert Downey Jr. did not travel to China for filming.

“I was told they wanted additional content for China,” Black said Tuesday. “It was sort of an experiment, and I was very interested by it. They generated some scenes that deal with this actor, to develop his character. I looked at the scenes to sort of approve them.”

Feige said the process reminded him of what happened with the Japanese film “Godzilla, King of the Monsters!” in 1956.

PHOTOS/VIDEO: Newest images from ‘Iron Man 3′

“They wanted to release it in America, but it was all in Japanese, so they added Raymond Burr as an American character and shot new scenes with him and inserted it into the movie, so there’s a Japanese version of it and an American version of it,” Feige said. “We did a much, much smaller version of that in reverse.”

Box-office returns from China are increasingly critical to American movie studios — the nation passed Japan last year as the globe’s No. 2 movie market (trailing only the United States).

And even though Hollywood studios receive less than a quarter of Chinese ticket sales, the returns can nonetheless be huge. “Avatar,” for example, grossed more than $200 million in China.

“Iron Man 3,” the first film from Marvel since last year’s $2-billion hit “The Avengers,” is expected to be one of the biggest movie openings of the year.

Feige said he expects the scenes with Fan and Wang might eventually surface in some fashion in the United States, but for now there are no plans to include them as part of the “Iron Man 3″ Blu-ray or DVD release.

“What we hope is that for Chinese audiences it’s an extra incentive to see the movie,” Feige said. “China is an important marketplace now.”

– John Horn and Gina McIntyre


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4 Responses to ‘Iron Man 3′: Chinese version unavailable to U.S. audiences, for now

  1. JoeKoffee says:

    Just wait. It won't be long before the Chinese demand much more extensive—and exclusive—content for their market—or they'll threaten to quash distribution in China and as much of the rest of Asia as they can influence.

  2. Jitte says:

    “They wanted to release it in America, but it was all in Japanese."

    What, I thought we were talking about China here?

    • Rex says:

      Jeez, was it REALLY that difficult to see that he was referring to the original Godzilla? If it ain't the grammar of the article — which it's not — then it's you.

  3. Mike says:

    Is this the new thing then? Buckling to Chinese interests for a few extra bucks? I thought it was ridiculous when that horrible Red Dawn remake buckled under and this is just as bad.

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