Iron Man 3 Was Different In China: What Scenes Were Added (& Why)?

Iron Man 3's release in China featured the addition of four minutes of extra footage. At times, Hollywood and China have seemed to be opponents rather than allies, but it's now generally accepted that the Chinese market is becoming increasingly important to the American film industry. As such, studios have even changed movies for Chinese audiences, even though China's box office isn't as important as people think.

In the case of Shane Black's Iron Man 3, Marvel Studios' efforts proved to be a tremendous success. China was Iron Man 3's biggest international market; in its opening weekend, it brought in $64.5 million and, over the course of its run, grossed an impressive $121 million in total. Iron Man 3 was the highest-grossing Hollywood film of the year. Oddly enough, though, it received only a lukewarm reception from critics in the country.

Related: Forget Deaging: The Fake Tony Stark In Iron Man 3 Is Marvel's Best CGI

The problem was that Iron Man 3 had an additional four minutes of footage in China, ostensibly an attempt by Marvel Studios to tailor the film for its Chinese release. On paper it must have seemed like a surefire strategy, but in reality it led to a massive amount of criticism. So how did this come to happen, what are these additional scenes, and did Marvel make a mistake?

Why The Chinese Version Of Iron Man 3 Is Different

In 2012, Marvel Studios announced that Iron Man 3 would be a co-production with the Chinese firm DMG Entertainment. "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," Stanley Cheung, managing director of the Walt Disney Company, Greater China, explained in an official statement. In reality, that approach was driven by financial incentives; it would have streamlined Iron Man 3's entry into the Chinese box office, where the government enforces a quota to restrict the number of Hollywood films that are released each year.

As a co-production, Iron Man 3 would have been counted as a domestic release in China, and it wouldn't have been caught up in that quota. Unfortunately, Disney realized that there would also be a cost. An element of creative control would have actually been handed over to the Chinese government, and so Disney pulled back from the co-production idea.

The Chinese market remained important, and the partnership with DMG Entertainment was still on. So, instead of co-producing, Marvel Studios decided to film additional scenes that would be added to the Chinese release; although Marvel hoped these scenes would appeal to Chinese viewers, in truth this seems to have been done purely to placate the government. To further sweeten the pot, they hired two of China's biggest film stars, Wang Xueqi and Fan Bingbing; Xueqi's Dr. Wu was considered to be an important secondary character, conducting surgery upon Tony Stark to remove the Arc Reactor from his heart.

Page 2 of 2: Iron Man 3's Extra Scenes & The Bad Reaction To Them

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Key Release Dates
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
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