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Importation Expansion

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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" segments.

A subtrope of Dub-Induced Plotline Change. Compare to Frankenslation and the Regional Bonus of video games.


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    Japanese Exports 

Anime and Manga

Japanese Film

  • The Ur-Example of this trope is probably Godzilla: King of the Monsters!, the American version of Gojira, which was completely re-edited to tell the story from the perspective of Raymond Burr as Steve Martin, a foreign correspondent who had been following the story. Notable for actually being very well done, as far as these things go, with considerable care taken to match the Burr footage and the original film.
    • The second Godzilla film, Godzilla Raids Again (released in the United States as Gigantis the Fire Monster), managed to avoid this, suffering only the addition of considerable amounts of Stock Footage, and Godzilla being referred to as "the Gigantis monsters", as well as having most of his roars replaced by modified Anguirus roars. However, it was almost turned into a film called The Volcano Monsters that would have been a prime example of this trope. Read about it here.
    • King Kong vs. Godzilla had American-shot scenes with "U.N. News Reporters" talking about whatever had previously occurred. At one point, one pulls out a children's book to explain how Godzilla is a mutated dinosaur.
    • Mothra vs. Godzilla contains an additional sequence of a missile attack on Godzilla shot by Toho especially for its American release.
    • The Return of Godzilla, in keeping with its status as a direct sequel to the original film, had Raymond Burr reprise his role as Steve Martin, as well as product placement-laden scenes where American military personnel crack wise about Godzilla.
      Officer (after watching Godzilla destroy a building): That's one hell of an urban renewal program they got going on over there!
  • Varan, the Unbelievable was subjected to a particularly extreme case of this. Its American version was completely rewritten around newly shot American footage with Myron Healey. Varan is an excellent example of a film that ended up shorter despite its Importation Expansion; the original Japanese version runs 87 minutes, while the American version, despite adding 40 minutes of newly shot footage, runs only 70 minutes.
  • Toho's Bigfoot movie Jû jin yuki otoko was brought to the US as Half Human: The Story of the Abominable Snowman, with over 40 minutes cut and and scenes added of John Carradine and other American actors spouting Techno Babble and (in a rather squicky scene) dissecting one of the monsters.
  • When New World Pictures picked up the rights to the disaster epic Japan Sinks, they cut it down by 40 minutes, added scenes of Lorne Greene sitting at a desk, and released the result as Tidal Wave.
  • UPA performed similar duties with Conflagration, adding scenes with Peter Graves and releasing it to TV as High Seas Hijack.

Live Action TV

    Media From Other Nations 
Comic Books
  • The Transformers (Marvel): The Marvel UK reprints 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.

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.


  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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 explained, was caused by "Involuntary shifts in Spectrum Radiation".
    • The Italian dub went further on and extended the movie by adding footage of spaceship battles from UFO (1970), turning their death rays into the cause of the color changes.
  • 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 made 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.
  • Likewise, Looper is also a U.S.-China co-production, and the Chinese release had more screentime for scenes in Shanghai.
  • For its US TV release, the B/W British horror film Naked Evil got 15 minutes of newly shot color framing sequences featuring Lawrence Tierney. The original film was tinted sepia and presented as the recollections of a psychiatric patient in an American hospital.
  • Legend Of Horror is one of the most extreme examples. Most of the film is newly shot American footage based around a "flashback" that occupies about a third of the movie. This "flashback" is actually the third segment of the Argentinian Edgar Allan Poe anthology Obras Maestras Del Terror, an expanded adaptation of Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.
  • The 1967 Klaus Kinski film Creature With The Blue Hand (which had already been released intact in the US) had American-shot zombie footagenote  added in 1987 for a VHS release as The Bloody Dead.
  • Jerry Warren was a director/producer in the 1950s and 60s. Best known for The Wild World of Batwoman, he frequently acquired Mexican horror films, hacked them up, and added new footage with American actors before releasing them under new, more exploitative titles to unsuspecting drive-in audiences. His efforts include:
  • Game of Death: The international version of the 1978 version shows a longer sequence where Billy Lo meets his uncle in a theater. The HK version shows another fight scene with a Bruce Lee double and Korean Taekwonwdo master Casanova Wong in a greenhouse. The ending is also significantly longer in the HK version, where dead Dr. Land is picked up by an ambulance. More information on this here

Live-Action TV

  • 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.
  • This practice was fairly common for American children's television in The '90s, where a new show would be made for the purpose of introducing a foreign children's series to the country:
    • Shining Time Station, a show which framed Thomas & Friends, kick-started this trend.
    • Since the original version of Tots TV was ten minutes long and the series was acquired by PBS Kids, which doesn't show commercials, the show would run in a Three Shorts format where the segment in between each story would either feature a storyteller named Noah or an animal expert named Jane.
    • Perhaps the strangest example of this was Salty's Lighthouse, where 5-minute clips comprised from various episodes of TUGS played as what Salty saw at the harbor.
    • The Noddy Shop would show a story from Noddy's Toyland Adventures split into two five-minute parts when Kate Tomten, one of the child characters, told stories to solve her friends' problems. Oddly enough, this version made it back into the United Kingdom and several other countries that aired the original series, like Portugal and France.
  • Since Boohbah aired on commercial-free PBS Kids in the United States, the American versions of the show add a fourth segment called "Look What I Can Do" - showing children doing their own exercises - after the second Boohbah exercise segment to fill more of the timeslot.

Western Animation

  • The French and UK-produced Mr. Men and Little Miss shorts aired in the US as part of a show called The Mr. Men Show (not related to The Mr. Men Show from 2008) made by Summit Media Group note  where the segments were sandwiched between live-action variety sketches tied into a specific theme like exercising or the circus.