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9 Movies That Were Changed for International Audiences

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In an effort to bring in the widest audience possible (in order to bring in the biggest profit possible), movie studios make modern blockbusters with everyone in mind. As such, American filmmakers have long been tasked with creating films for a truly global audience—and on occasion have had to change certain details within their films in order to appeal to moviegoers outside of the United States.

Take Pixar’s recent hit Inside Out, for example: In the American version of the film, the little girl Riley hates the taste of broccoli, whereas Japanese audiences saw the character refuse to eat her green bell peppers. “We learned that some of our content wouldn’t make sense in other countries,” director Pete Docter explained in a press release, in which he noted that that they made 28 changes to 45 shots in the film. Here are nine other movies that were altered for international audiences.

1. IRON MAN 3 (2013)

Iron Man 3 is a co-production between Marvel Studios and China-based DMG Entertainment, so the Chinese version of the superhero movie included new scenes that weren’t in the U.S. version. The character Dr. Wu (Wang Xueqi), who is introduced at the beginning, is expanded upon with additional scenes in the Chinese release. Additionally, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, who plays Dr. Wu’s nurse, is introduced, while a new scene featuring Iron Man with middle school students can be seen in a news report. There’s even product placement from Gu Li Duo, a very popular milk brand in China. Overall, about four minutes of footage was added to the Chinese version of the Marvel movie.

2. LINCOLN (2012)

When Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln opened internationally, the movie ran into a problem: While a majority of people outside of the United States knew that Abraham Lincoln was an American President, they didn’t know about his role in the Civil War and/or the Emancipation Proclamation. To appeal to foreign moviegoers, Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner created a preamble that explained a bit of American history using title cards and actual black-and-white photos from 1865. Composer John Williams even wrote a score for the added, minute-long segment. In the Japanese version, Spielberg appeared on camera to address the audience before the preamble began.

3. CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)

The sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger finds Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) adapting to life in the 21st century after spending a majority of his adult life in the 1940s. At the beginning of the film, he meets military veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) who recommends he listen to Marvin Gaye’s soundtrack to the film Trouble Man as a way to catch up with modern pop culture. Rogers dutifully adds the soundtrack to his to-do list, which features other cultural touchstones.

Marvel Studios assembled 10 different versions of Rogers' to-do list, which varies from country to country. Although each list features Thai Food, Star Wars/Trek, Nirvana (Band), and Rocky (Rocky II?), the American version features I Love Lucy (TV show), while the British version features Sherlock (TV show) instead. The Australian version features Steve Irwin and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, while the South Korean version features Oldboy and Dance Dance Revolution.

4. TOY STORY 2 (1999)

In Toy Story 2, Buzz Lightyear gives a rousing speech to Andy’s toys just before they travel across town. During the pep talk, an American flag appears behind him and “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays in the background. For the international release, Pixar changed the flag to a spinning globe, while composer Randy Newman wrote a new score called the “One World Anthem.”

5. RED DAWN (2012)

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Although the remake of this 1984 classic was completed and set for release in 2011, MGM and FilmDistrict delayed its premiere in order to change the film’s villains from Chinese invaders to North Korean aggressors. The decision behind the change was, perhaps unsurprisingly, a monetary one: Producers felt that Red Dawn could play better in China if the villains were North Korean instead. MGM poured an additional $1 million into post-production to digitally change Chinese flags to North Korean ones, re-edited a few scenes, and reworked the film's opening scene, dropping its original story of the Chinese government invading the U.S. to violently collect a debt after the country defaulted on its loans. Red Dawn finally made its debut in November of 2012, to a disappointing box office and critical reception.

6. MONSTERS UNIVERSITY (2013)

In Monsters University, Randall Boggs makes a batch of cupcakes in order to make inroads with the campus fraternities. In the U.S. version, the cupcakes read “Be My Pal,” while international versions of the Pixar film simply feature a smiley face. Pixar changed the cupcakes so that the joke would work for non-English speaking audiences.

7. DEMOLITION MAN (1993)

Taco Bell was the only restaurant to survive the Franchise Wars, which makes them the only restaurant in the future depicted in Demolition Man. But because Taco Bell isn’t a worldwide fast food chain, that detail was changed to make Pizza Hut the victor for the European version of the action classic. Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock had to re-dub a few lines of dialogue and Pizza Hut’s logo was added in post-production. But if you look closely, you can still see a few Taco Bell logos in the background.

8. PLANES (2013)

The character Rochelle from DisneyToon’s Planes changed colors (and sometimes names) depending on the country with 11 different versions of the racer. In the United States, she’s pink, red, and white; in Australia, she’s red, green, yellow, black, and white with a kangaroo on her side. In China, her name is Yún Yàn Fēi and she has a red, yellow, and white paint job, while she’s white, black, yellow, and red and referred to as Heidi in Germany.

9. TOTAL RECALL (2012)

In the 2012 remake of Total Recall, there are only two surviving civilizations or zones in the world: the United Federation of Britain and New Asia. People from both civilizations travel between areas through a gravity elevator that runs through the Earth’s core called the China Fall. But when Total Recall was released in theaters, Sony changed New Asia to The Colony, while the China Fall was simply re-named The Fall. The movie studio changed it because they wanted Total Recall to be more palatable and acceptable to Chinese audiences and censors.

“It was one of the concerns of the studio about being so specific about … slanting too much to where we were saying that was the entire culture, and it’s not,” director Len Wiseman told Cinema Blend. “It’s meant to be a melting pot of an entire society … it’s two surviving zones and the working class is a combination, a melting pot, of many different races and cultures and such. If you look closely, you can still see remnants of New Asia in the remake. The character Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) goes to The First Bank of New Asia to find a safety deposit box.

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History
Beyond Board Shorts: The Rich History of Hawaii's Surf Culture
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From Australia to the Arctic Circle, adrenaline junkies around the world love catching waves—but the very first people to develop surf culture were Hawaiians. Their version of the pastime shares both similarities and differences with the one that’s commonly practiced today, according to TED-Ed’s video below.

Surfing wasn’t just a sport in Hawaii—there were social and religious elements to it, too. Hawaiians made offerings to the gods while choosing trees for boards and prayed for waves. And like a high school cafeteria, the ocean was divided by social status, with certain surf breaks reserved solely for elite Hawaiians.

The surfboards themselves used by early Hawaiians largely resembled the ones we use today, although they were fin-less and required manual turns. Learn more about surfing’s roots and evolution (and how surf culture was nearly destroyed by foreign colonizers) by watching the video below.

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Art
15 Things You Should Know About Georgia O’Keeffe

Georgia O’Keeffe’s enchanting floral still lifes are now a deeply ingrained part of American culture—so much so that they often eclipse her other colorful accomplishments. For a more complete portrait of the artist, who was born 130 years ago today, brush up on these 15 little-known facts about her.

1. FLOWER PAINTINGS MAKE UP A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF O'KEEFFE'S BODY OF WORK.

Though O'Keeffe is most famous for her lovingly rendered close-ups of flowers—like Black Iris and Oriental Poppies—these make up just about 200 of her 2000-plus paintings. The rest primarily depict landscapes, leaves, rocks, shells, and bones.

2. SHE REJECTED SEXUAL INTERPRETATIONS OF HER PAINTINGS.

For decades, critics assumed that O'Keeffe's flowers were intended as homages—or at the very least, allusions—to the female form. But in 1943, she insisted that they had it all wrong, saying, “Well—I made you take time to look at what I saw and when you took time to really notice my flowers you hung all your own associations with flowers on my flower and you write about my flower as if I think and see what you think and see of the flower—and I don’t.” So there.

3. SHE WAS NOT A NATIVE OF THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST.


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O'Keeffe was actually born on a Wisconsin dairy farm. She'd go on to live in Chicago; New York City; New York’s Lake George; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Amarillo, Texas. She first visited New Mexico in 1917, and as she grew older, her trips there became more and more frequent. Following the death of her husband in 1946, she moved to New Mexico permanently.

4. HER FAVORITE STUDIO WAS THE BACKSEAT OF A MODEL-A FORD.

In an interview with C-SPAN, Carolyn Kastner, curator of the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, explained how the artist customized her car for this use: "She would remove the driver's seat. Then she would unbolt the passenger car, turn it around to face the back seat. Then she would lay the canvas on the back seat as an easel and paint inside her Model-A Ford."

Painting inside the car allowed O'Keeffe to stay out of the unrelenting desert sun, where she painted many of her later works. The Model-A also provided a barrier from the bees that would gather as the day wore on.

5. O'KEEFFE ALSO PAINTED SKYSCRAPERS.

While nature was her main source of inspiration, the time she spent in 1920s Manhattan spurred the creation of surreal efforts like New York With Moon, City Night and The Shelton with Sunspots.

6. O'KEEFFE IMMERSED HERSELF IN NATURE ...

While in New Mexico O’Keeffe spent summers and falls at her Ghost Ranch, putting up with the region's hottest, most stifling days in order to capture its most vivid colors. (The rest of the year she stayed at her second home, located in the small town of Abiquiu.) When she wasn't painting in her Model-A, O'Keeffe often camped out in the harsh surrounding terrain, to keep close to the landscapes that inspired her.

7. …WHATEVER THE WEATHER.

The artist would rig up tents from tarps, contend with unrelenting downpours, and paint with gloves on when it got too cold. She went camping well into her 70s and enjoyed a well-documented rafting trip with photographer Todd Webb at age 74. Her camping equipment is occasionally exhibited at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe.

8. SHE MARRIED THE MAN BEHIND HER FIRST GALLERY SHOW.

"At last, a woman on paper!" That’s what modernist photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz cried when he first saw O'Keeffe's abstract charcoal drawings. He was so enthusiastic about this series of sketches that he put them on display—before consulting their creator.

When O'Keeffe arrived at his gallery, she wasn't pleased, and brusquely introduced herself: "I am Georgia O'Keeffe and you will have to take these pictures down." Despite their rocky beginnings, Stieglitz and O'Keeffe quickly made amends, and went on to become partners in art and in life.

9. O'KEEFFE AND STIEGLITZ WROTE 25,000 PAGES OF LOVE LETTERS TO EACH OTHER.

When the pair met in 1916, he was famous and married; she was unknown and 23 years his junior. All the same, they began writing to each other often (sometimes two or three times a day) and at length (as many as 40 pages at a time). These preserved writings chart the progression of their romance—from flirtation to affair to their marriage in 1924—and even document their marital struggles.

10. SHE SERVED AS A MUSE TO OTHER ARTISTS.

Thanks in part to Stieglitz, O'Keeffe was one of the most photographed women of the 20th century. Stieglitz made O'Keeffe the subject of a long-term series of portraits meant to capture individuals as they aged, and she made for a striking model. Though he died in 1946, the project lived on as other photographers sought out O'Keeffe in order to capture the beloved artist against the harsh New Mexican landscapes she loved so dearly.

O'Keeffe later wrote:

When I look over the photographs Stieglitz took of me—some of them more than sixty years ago—I wonder who that person is. It is as if in my one life I have lived many lives. If the person in the photographs were living in this world today, she would be quite a different person—but it doesn't matter—Stieglitz photographed her then.

11. SHE QUIT PAINTING THREE TIMES.

The first break spanned several years (the exact number is a matter of debate), when O'Keeffe took on more stable jobs to help her family through financial troubles. In the early 1930s, a nervous breakdown led to her hospitalization, and caused her to set aside her brushes for more than a year.

In the years leading up to her death in 1986, failing eyesight forced O'Keeffe to give up painting entirely. Until then, she fought hard to keep working, enlisting assistants to prepare her canvas and mix her oil paints for pieces like 1977's Sky Above Clouds/Yellow Horizon and Clouds. She managed to use watercolors until she was 95.

12. AFTER GOING BLIND, SHE TURNED TO SCULPTING.


By Alfred Stieglitz - Phillips, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Although her vision eventually made painting impossible, O'Keeffe's desire to create was not squelched. She memorably declared, "I can see what I want to paint. The thing that makes you want to create is still there.” O'Keeffe began experimenting with clay sculpting in her late 80s, and continued with it into her 96th year.

13. SHE'S THE MOTHER OF AMERICAN MODERNISM.

Searching for what she called “the Great American Thing,” O'Keeffe was part of the Stieglitz Circle, which included such lauded early modernists as Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin, Paul Strand, and Edward Steichen. By the mid-1920s, she had become the first female painter to gain acclaim alongside her male contemporaries in New York's cutthroat art world. Her distinctive way of rendering nature in shapes and forms that made them seem simultaneously familiar and new earned her a reputation as a pioneer of the form.

14. SHE BLAZED NEW TRAILS FOR FEMALE ARTISTS.

In 1946, O’Keeffe became the first woman to earn a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. Twenty-four years later, a Whitney Museum of American Art retrospective exhibit introduced her work to a new generation. Fifteen years after that, O'Keeffe was included in the inaugural slate of artists chosen to receive the newly founded National Medal of Arts for her contribution to American culture.

15. SHE WASN'T FEARLESS, BUT SHE REJECTED FEAR.

O'Keeffe was purported to have said, "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."

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