'Top Gun: Maverick' makers risk China's wrath as they reinstate Taiwanese flag on Maverick's jacket
China is the biggest film box office and accounted for a third of global sales last year but many a film has had to undergo alterations that range from minor to drastic to crack the country's stringent censorship regulations. Take 'Doctor Strange' for example. The Marvel flick's core was changed (a key character's backstory and an important location) to ensure that the film could be released in China.
Films of equal or higher budget such as 'Titanic,' 'Skyfall,' and 'Iron Man 3,' to name a few, were also altered to prevent them from offending the Chinese government. 'Top Gun: Maverick' was one of the most recent films to also fall in line but it looks like the makers of the sequel to the hit 1986 action flick have decided to not fold to the demands of China. How have they done so? Read on to find out!
The OG 'Top Gun' saw Lieutenant Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell don a bomber jacket with patches on the back that included the Japanese and Taiwanese flags. The flags were Maverick's way of commemorating his father's tours to the respective countries. However, when the trailer for the sequel was released, those flags had been removed and swapped with other patches with random symbols. Many speculated that the changes were influenced by Tencent Pictures, a Chinese film distribution and production company, which was also partly involved in producing 'Top Gun: Maverick.' The changes were believed to be brought about as China doesn't recognize Taiwan as an autonomous nation and, according to various media outlets, considers it to be a "renegade province that must be reunited with the mainland."
The move left fans furious but to their surprise, the patches were restored when the film was released last week, with the makers even focusing on it in a close-up shot. In an industry that has gone out of its way to pander to the Chinese market, this is a rare and bold move. Tencent Pictures ended up pulling out of the film, fearing the kind of response it would evoke from the Chinese government, and was also left uncredited.
What repercussions will this move have? Only time will tell! 'Top Gun: Maverick,' on the other hand has collected $300 million worldwide and has earned rave reviews.