Marvel Studios will release a different version of "Iron Man 3" in China and opted against filing for the movie to be a Chinese co-production, Marvel announced on Friday. China is very strict about how many foreign movies it will permit to screen, and its censors are similarly strict over the content of those movies.
Securing co-production status can aid a movie's efforts to earn a release in China, and tailoring the movie to the domestic audience there can provide similar benefits.
China wields more power than ever in Hollywood thanks to the continued growth of its film market, which many expect to rival the United States in terms of box office within the next decade.
The first two movies grossed more than $1 billion worldwide collectively.
Marvel Studios collaborated with China-based DMG Entertainment on the Shane Black-directed film, the third cinematic adaptation of the comic book. Both the domestic and Chinese versions will feature famous Chinese actor Wang Xueqi, but only the Chinese version will feature actress Fan Bingbing, as well as bonus footage made specifically for the Chinese.
Robert Downey Jr. stars as the title character and Ben Kingsley as the villain while Don Cheadle and Gwyneth Paltrow return as Rhodey and Pepper Potts, respectively. The film opens May 3.
Here's the full statement from Marvel:
"Marvel Studios and DMG announced that a Chinese version of 'Iron Man 3' will be released in China on a date to be announced in the near future. DMG, a Chinese media and entertainment company, collaborated with Marvel Studios on the Chinese elements in the film, and is marketing and distributing the film in China. While Marvel and DMG have decided not to apply for co-production status in China, the film includes significant Chinese elements. Renowned Chinese actor Wang Xueqi will appear in both the studio's Chinese version of the film and in its international and domestic US version. Both versions of the film include 'Iron Man 3' footage filmed in Beijing in December. The Chinese version of the film will also feature a special appearance of China's top actress, Fan Bingbing, and will offer specially prepared bonus footage made exclusively for the Chinese audience. Marvel Studios' experience working on this film with Fan Bingbing and Wang Xueqi and in shooting in China has been very positive and has created a springboard for future collaboration with China's talented stars and its growing film and television industry. The 'Iron Man' cast and filmmakers look forward to bringing 'Iron Man' back to China."