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Trivia / Red Dawn (2012)

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  • Banned in China: The villain was changed from China to North Korea to avoid this. As noted below, however, it ended up being All for Nothing.
  • Box Office Bomb: Changing the villain army from China to North Korea in order to appease the Chinese government didn't really matter too much in the end, since the film did so poorly in the U.S. that it wasn't even released in China (or many other countries for that matter).
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  • Executive Meddling: The plot of the movie was originally centered around a Chinese invasion of America. After the movie was completed, the executives decided to change the villain from China to North Korea, and went so far as to digitally alter every Chinese symbol into a North Korean one and add additional scenes. Theories abound, from suggesting that distributors were unnerved by the prospect of a Chinese invasion, to the risk of the film being Banned in China itself, which would leave a lot of money on the table.
  • Fake American: Ironically, the main hero is played by an Australian while the main villain is played by an American.
  • Fake Nationality: The Chinese bad guys, played by Chinese actors, were changed to North Korean bad guys in post-production.
  • Prop Recycling: The props department seems to not have had any Soviet heavy weapons on hand, so the DPRK jeeps have M2's.
    • The Jeeps themselves are in fact Humvees. The Korean People's Army also apparently has so few tanks that they are using M1A2 Abrams to garrison the city.
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    • A bit Justified since they would've likely captured any equipment that wasn't outright destroyed by the US Military. This would also handle the supply issue since parts would be in warehouses just waiting to be used.
  • Reality Subtext: The current political climate necessitated the change of the antagonists in the remake from China to North Korea. The notion of using Chinese in the first place for the remake was due to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Noting that China was once an ally of the U.S. also fits the affiliation of China toward the end of the Cold War.
  • The Shelf of Movie Languishment: Actually managed to make it all the way through the production phase, only to get sunk by MGM's financial insolvency. It was also delayed because the premise of China attacking America scared off all other major distributors, so MGM had to change the villain to North Korea in order to make it more attractive to film companies, and even then it took several months before it finally found a distributor willing to take a chance on the film. It probably helped that Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson had recently found fame for Thor and The Hunger Games, respectively.
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  • Tom Hanks Syndrome: Josh Peck reached significant fame in the United States as a star on multiple Nickelodeon comedies such as The Amanda Show and Drake & Josh usually playing a fat buffoon. Here, he's in a war action film playing a teenager forced to fight for his country against North Korean terrorists.
  • Undermined by Reality: The film's message about standing up for your ideals and never giving in to foreign invaders rings rather hollow given that the filmmakers censored the identity of the villains in post-production to retain access to that sweet Chinese box office cash.
  • What Could Have Been: Early drafts of the script had the protagonists fighting Middle Eastern terrorists. This was likely changed because, unless said terrorists were the Global Liberation Army, it'd be WAY too unrealistic for terrorists to be able to push so far inland.
    • The above was then changed to make the invaders Chinese but that was ultimately changed to North Koreans as to not alienate the Chinese market but this decision was rendered moot as the film was ultimately not released in China with North Koreans now being the villains likely the reason why due to China being one of very few countries on anything close to resembling good terms with North Korea.
    • Not that North Koreans managing to invade America is any more realistic. They can't even afford airlines to infiltrate the United States what with their dictator Kim Jong-un squandering all his country's money on himself like luxuries, parties, nuclear bombs and a dolphin aquarium.


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