"World War Z" was altered to preempt Chinese censors, according to reports. The move, ordered by Hollywood executives, was designed to preempt the Communist country's strict standards, which never allow any disparaging content about China to be aired— especially in foreign films.
The "World War Z" alterations were simple: in one scene, characters attempt to pin down the source of the quickly escalating zombie outbreak and suggest China as the origin. Paramount executives told the film's producers to take that reference out and cite a different country instead, according to TheWrap. The changes are a sign that distributors feel the $175 million movie could gain traction in China, which is the second biggest market for Hollywood movies after the U.S.
"It's not a huge plot point," an insider who knows the studio's plans told TheWrap. "But it's safe to say [they're] going to want a release there."
For big movie productions such as "World War Z," making back the nearly $200 million spent creating the film is a top priority, so producers cannot afford to alienate a market with as much potential as China. The Communist country beat out Japan as the biggest source of international box office revenue last year with $2.7 billion, according to Yahoo! News. Some analysts believe the market there could become even bigger than the U.S.
Another aspect of the film changed to broaden the audience was some of the story's gorier aspects and deviations from the book's plot. The novel "World War Z" covers the decade long effort to fight back the zombies globally, including the foul and immoral actions of individuals trying to survive. The movie, though, has already earned a PG-13 rating, which has upset fans of the book.
"There will always be discussion and controversy on every zombie movie," Marc Forster, the movie's director, told HitFix.com. "Some zombie fans you will not be able to make happy, and some zombie fans will embrace it."
Instead of canvassing the 10 years of humanity decimated by the zombie pandemic, the film will only cover the first few days of the outbreak, which could surprise and excite fans.
"I hope that most of the zombie fans will appreciate all the new things we have in the movie that they haven't seen before in this particular genre," Forster added.