Iron Man 3: DMG Executive Defends Co-Production Status

The Mandarin Iron Man 3

Following a Comic Con appearance where director Shane Black told the audience that neither he nor any primary cast members would be headed to China for filming, and an initial trailer that showcased no Chinese actors or locales, there's been quite a bit of question raised as to whether Iron Man 3 could incorporate enough material in the final weeks of shooting to justify the "co-production" credit that grants it financing and incentives from China.

There's also the question of The Mandarin, the film's villain, who is unambiguously Chinese in the comic book source material but whose ethnicity has been obscured in the film in order to appease the Chinese censors. There's been some question as to whether that would work, or whether China would require a different cut of the movie altogether to downplay The Mandarin, relegating him to just one of a number of villains.

But a new interview with producer Dan Mintz, the CEO of Beijing's DMG Entertainment who has arranged co-production deals for movies like Iron Man 3 and Looper, assured The Hollywood Reporter in an interview that it's all much ado about nothing.

"Iron Man 3 is absolutely a DMG co-production," Mintz said when presented with a question about the controversy. "Obviously I can’t talk about story, but we’ll be filming in China before the end of the year, and we’ll have an announcement about Chinese cast members sometime very soon. All will be revealed. About the co-production issue, of course, it’s kind of sensitive. What I will say is that I’ve lived in China for 20 years and we’ve been working at this a long time -- and there’s no single loophole to be exploited, like some have been suggesting. You can’t waltz in thinking you can get around something. It just isn’t there. This market doesn’t work that way. The big things that happen do so because they’re wanted to happen. It’s like filmmaking itself; it’s all in the minutiae. It’s about your reputation in the market, based on what you’ve delivered, and the relationships you have."

Mintz's last movie, Looper, also had its co-production status challenged by some in the Chinese press, but appears to have beaten the critics on that score, in no small part thanks to the involvement of rising Chinese star Summer Qing, who spoke with ComicBook.com the week of the film's release about some of the challenges and similarities of working in the Chinese versus the American film industries.