William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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FROM REDSTATE:  Things have been pretty bleak and heartbreaking of late, so here’s some good news.  “Top Gun: Maverick” has been lighting up movie screens and — based on my own personal social media observations — is routinely inspiring clapping and cheering from American audiences. And that’s not even the best part. The second installment of the 1986 Tom Cruise classic is achieving its success without the help of a formerly very vocal Chinese investor, internet and tech giant Tencent.  Remember the flight jacket, scrubbed in the 2019 trailer of certain flags to appease Chinese censors? My how things have changed. 

To the joy of Taiwanese audiences hitting the theaters this week, Top Gun: Maverick features a prominent shot of the Japanese and Taiwanese flags—national symbols that were scrubbed from a 2019 trailer.

The flags were initially replaced by random symbols, drawing sharp criticism as an example of Hollywood caving in to China’s political demands. But in a rare U-turn, which has yet to be explained, they have reappeared in the film’s worldwide release.

“It is unprecedented,” Ho Siu Bun, a film critic in Hong Kong, told VICE World News.

“Major film studios have never been shy about pandering to the Chinese market. And even if it is a simple scene, editing is very costly. So no one knows why they changed it back."  Maybe Hollywood is starting to read the trade winds, and maybe they're not blowing in China's direction.  That would be a great treat.

May 28, 2022