Major American corporations have bent the knee to the Chinese Communist Party.
Hollywood and the NBA are two glaring examples.
But Tom Cruise’s latest blockbuster infuriated the CCP with one message.
China has been using its immense market to bully American companies that rely on the country.
Hollywood blockbusters, for example, need to make roughly four times their budget in order to be profitable.
That’s nearly impossible to do without the international market, and China is a big part of that.
Although, China’s box office muscle has begun to wane, and Top Gun: Maverick, the long-anticipated sequel to the 1986 film, might have broken the Chinese stranglehold on Hollywood altogether.
During the early stages of post-production when images from the film leaked, American fans noticed that Taiwanese and Japanese patches on Maverick’s bomber jacket had been digitally removed to placate the CCP.
China does not recognize the sovereignty of Taiwan, and Japan is a long-time adversary.
But the state of play has changed.
Conservative film critic Sonny Bunch wrote that “when I was watching the film, I noticed that a.) it didn’t have the Tencent logo and b.) the Japanese and Taiwanese flags had returned. Erich Schwartzel…reports that Tencent pulled out of funding the picture over fears of angering the CCP, opening the way to the return of the flag. This feels like a tipping point, particularly if Top Gun: Maverick ends up grossing in the $300-$400 million range worldwide over these first few days.”
It might just be a middle finger to China. https://t.co/RqH9BQFFnm
— VICE (@VICE) May 27, 2022
Top Gun: Maverick did indeed hit that box office number; the film has grossed $321 million worldwide without the Chinese market.
The action film could provide a sea change for the industry.
Earlier this year, the latest Fantastic Beasts film removed reference to a gay relationship in order to appease the Chinese censors.
Warner Bros. said in a statement:
“As a studio, we’re committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release, and that extends to circumstances that necessitate making nuanced cuts in order to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors…Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets.”
Hollywood creatives should not be bending over backwards to make the CCP happy.
For example, the CCP would never allow for an honest film to be made about communist dictator Mao Zedong.
Of course, the socialists in Hollywood would never make such a movie, but some brave filmmaker and studio should at least have the freedom to do so.
Top Gun: Maverick is the first Tom Cruise to gross over $100 million opening weekend.
It could also be the first to signal the end of the strong Chinese hand around Hollywood’s neck.