Often times in Hollywood, movies are trimmed down for International audiences in cases of censorship, cultural differences and running time. But it’s not very often that a Hollywood movie adds scenes in a movie to appease International audiences. In this case, Chinese audiences will see an extended cut of Rian Johnson’s high concept time travel movie, Looper, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis.
The Los Angeles Times is reporting that, the film about a hit man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who kills his target when they’re sent to the future and then later finds himself in trouble when he is commissioned to kill his older self (Bruce Willis), will have two versions for American and Chinese audiences. The Chinese version will feature an extended international sequence, that was originally set in Paris but when Chinese financiers Endgame Entertainment brought on Chinese entity DMG who wanted to set these scenes in Shanghai instead. The American version will not feature these scenes when Sony releases the film on September 28th.
The director of Looper Rian Johnson (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) cut these scenes out of the movie but the Chinese backers wanted these scenes back in to showcase the streets of Shanghai for Chinese audiences. The production came to a compromise and the result was two versions of Looper. The scenes, involving Gordon-Levitt’s character’s downward spiral, were cut out the American version because test screeners felt it slowed down the pace of the film, while Chinese test screeners didn’t mind the narrative slowdown.
In this rare instance, if this film does well in both countries, we’ll probably see more of these practices of catering to different audiences. For now, this seems like a good idea but hopefully it won’t be a slippery slope when it comes to art and commerce.