Pacific Rim’s worldwide box office take is slowly inching towards $400 million. While it’s unclear if Warner Bros. will green-light a sequel thanks to the overseas success, now a new controversy has boiled up in the Chinese movie-going market. It appears Chinese officials are calling Pacific Rim “American propaganda” for pushing “American values and global strategies.”
As reported on Deadline, Zhang Jieli, an officer in the People’s Liberation Army wrote an op-ed for Chinese newspaper PLA Daily, where he states that, “Hollywood has always been the best American propaganda machine.” He continues to point out what he feels is American propaganda in Pacific Rim, namely where the film is set. “The decisive battle against the monsters was deliberately set in South China Sea adjacent to Hong Kong,” Zhang wrote in the editorial, published Friday. “The intention was to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to maintaining stability in the Asia-Pacific area and saving the mankind,” he claims.
Zhang continued to accuse other Hollywood movies of carrying American propaganda, such as Ice Age and the James Bond film series. He urges the Chinese military to be aware of the Western influence on Chinese culture: “Soldiers should sharpen their eyes and enforce a ‘firewall’ to avoid ideological erosion when watching American movies,” Zhang warned. “More importantly, they should strengthen their combat capability to safeguard national security and interests.”
From a Chinese military point-of-view, yes Pacific Rim is American propaganda. Hollywood makes movies for American audiences, so I’d be shocked to see a movie like Pacific Rim endorse Communism, censorship, and sexism. Chinese movies have to paint China and the Chinese government in a very favorable light or they wouldn’t be funded or released. These movies are made by Americans, so there’s always going to be an ounce of American ideals within all of these movies.
As Pacific Rim marches to a $400 million box office, it’s interesting to see that a large portion of that money does come from the Chinese market. To date, China has brought in $106.2 million for Pacific Rim, which is more than the $99.2 million grossed in the U.S. So should Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures put the Chinese government in mind when making their next tentpole summer blockbuster? Fuck no!
While American movie studios are bending over backwards to have their movies screened in China’s emerging market, I rue the day when American movie studios and filmmakers change a majority of their movies to placate the Chinese government, a government that is notorious for censorship and horrendous human rights violations. In short, I wouldn’t take these accusations seriously.
As for Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro and co-screenwriter Travis Beacham are currently working on the screenplay for Pacific Rim 2, even if a movie studio doesn’t green light the project. It’s rumored that the sequel would involve even bigger Jaegers and Kaiju, as well as a melding of both into one terrifying beast.