The Walt Disney Co./Marvel Studios has teamed up with DMG Entertainment out of China to ‘co-produce’ “Iron Man 3.” Under the agreement, DMG will finance a portion of the film. Some footage will be shot in China as well. DMG will distribute “Iron Man 3” in China (Disney will distribute to the rest of the world except Germany and Austria).
Here is the canned quote regarding the agreement: “The popularity of the Marvel franchise globally creates a huge opportunity to deliver fans yet another action packed film,” said Stanley Cheung, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company, Greater China. “The co-production of IRON MAN 3 in China is testimony to the importance of this audience to Disney and the local industry capability to deliver a blockbuster title,” he added.
And from DMG:
“Our collaboration with Disney and Marvel marks a milestone in the global entertainment landscape, as this signifies the first multi-billion dollar franchise to be produced between Hollywood and China,” said Dan Mintz, CEO of DMG Entertainment. “The IRON MAN franchise has been a major success worldwide, and we look forward to pushing the series to new heights with IRON MAN 3. The movie will further build upon its compelling storyline, and feature the hottest A-list stars, and spectacular action, which will resonate well both globally and in China, the second largest box office market in the world.”
Sounds awesome, huh? Marvel is jumping out and breaking new ground in China, which is the 2nd largest market (recently overtaking Japan) outside of the U.S. for films. Ahh, but it’s a lot more.
As we’ve seen over the past few years with films (and the internet and media) in China, censorship plays a big role. China’s powerful central government controls the media, and they aren’t afraid to censor projects that they don’t like.
So what’s a studio to do? Well, Marvel essentially just bought the Chinese government off. DMG Entertainment knows how to push films past the Chinese censors. It’s sad, really, but I suppose that’s the cost of doing business. It would be really interesting to see how much DMG is financing of “Iron Man 3” and how much footage will be shot in China. My guess is the not much of either.
“Iron Man 3” starts shooting early next month. The film stars Robert Downey Jr. and Don Cheadle.