In the past, it was reasonably common practice for producers to add new scenes to foreign films that they were importing. This was done for several reasons: to add name actors to what would otherwise be a cast of unknowns, to disguise the fact that the film was foreign (at least for the duration of the trailer
), to increase the running time
, or any combination of the above.
The method is most viable when the main action is done by People in Rubber Suits
, (or Puppets
,) allowing the adaptation's Greek Chorus
(or in some cases its stars
) to have similar sensibilities to the importing country
This is also possible in animated media, but there has to be a coordination between the original producers and the dubbers; otherwise, the visuals for these segments would be Off Model
The "expansion" is related to the adding of new footage, not to the actual length of the "expanded" film. Indeed, the "expanded" versions of some films can be much shorter than their original versions.
This has been a Dead Horse Trope
for Film since the mid-1970s, when distributors realized that most audiences didn't actually care enough to justify the time and expense of shooting new footage, either for theatrical release or for Direct-to-Video
. However, it's alive and well in Television Series imports, which run long enough overall for the investment of new characters to pay dividends.
Note that to be an example of this trope requires substantial
original footage; simply adding insert shots of translated signs or the like doesn't count. Neither do repurposed shots used in "And Knowing Is Half the Battle
A subtrope of Cut-and-Paste Translation
. Compare to the Regional Bonus
of video games.
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Anime and Manga
Live Action TV
- Several Japanese Tokusatsu series have been adapted in English, keeping footage where the actors are in face-concealing costumes and replacing the rest with new footage with English actors. In a number of cases, the plot changes drastically in the adaptation.
Media From Other Nations
Eastern European Animation
- The Soviet animated film The Snow Queen had a live-action prologue added featuring Art Linkletter "reading" the original story to some children.
Live Action TV
- The Godfrey Ho Ninja Movies. Godfrey Ho was pretty much the king of this - by his own account he made about 40-50 movies this way. He and producer Joseph Lai would buy up the rights to various 70s/80s Asian films which would usually be unmarketable elsewheren (or sometimes were unfinished or never saw release at all), shoot between 10 to 30 minutes of original footage with Western actors (usually as Technicolor Ninjas), then attempt to tie the whole thing together into an vaguely coherent plot via a Hong Kong Dub. Needless to say this was usually unsuccessful.
- Soviet Science Fiction films
- Voyage to the Prehistoric Planet
- Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women
- Battle Beyond the Sun
- Queen of Blood, although similar in genesis, doesn't really qualify, since it only really used footage from the original Russian film as stock footage for its original story.
- When Karel Zeman's Journey to the Beginning of Time was released in the United States, it got an entirely new beginning for the film. The new footage featured lookalike actors (carefully shot to avoid showing their faces) going to the New York Museum of Natural History and taking a boat ride in Central Park before segueing to the original Czech footage.
- Similarly, Zeman's The Deadly Invention got a new introduction by television host Hugh Downs, of 20/20 and Concentration fame, when it came to America as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne.
- Horror of the Blood Monsters started life as a black and white Filipino caveman epic called Tagani. To make it saleable to American drive-ins, hack director extraordinaire Al Adamson added color scenes with American actors (including John Carradine) as astronauts exploring a "prehistoric planet". The fact that said "prehistoric planet" (the Tagani footage) was black and white was solved by tinting the film day-glo colors, which, the newly added footage explaned, was caused by "Involuntary shifts in Spectrum Radiation".
- That shot of Margot and La Môle on the American DVD of La Reine Margot? That whole scene was shot for the American release to strengthen the love story.
- Because Iron Man 3 was partially funded by China's DMG Entertainment, bonus scenes were added to the Chinese release of the film, primarily focusing on the character of Dr. Wu (who is briefly introduced at the 1999 party and can be glimpsed in the surgery scene in the American version). In a scene that occurs just before Tony's surgery, Dr. Wu talks to one of his assistants, played by Fan Bingbing (who will make her American debut in X-Men: Days of Future Past). Though this caused some discontentment from Americans, the deal seemed to pay off handsomely for Marvel.
- Fraggle Rock - various markets (including the UK, which didn't redub the Muppet characters) had their own version of Doc. They all had Sprocket, though.
- Marvel UK's reprint series of The Transformers added a huge amount of extra stories by Simon Furman in order to avoid overtaking the main series, which occasionally required editing the American material to avoid plot holes. This bonus material was of such high quality that not only did Furman get to take over writing the American series when Bob Budiansky burned out, American fans actually subscribed to the UK series to get the bonus material.