Video Game Movie Pixels "Censored" to Appease China – Report

The just-released video game movie Pixels was going to feature numerous scenes in China, including one where the country’s iconic Great Wall was partially destroyed by video game characters, but these never made it into the film film due to fear they would cause “some sensitivity.”

That’s according to leaked emails from Sony Pictures obtained by Reuters.

A 2013 draft for the Pixels included the Great Wall destruction scene, but it was cut. The movie still shows other famous places such as the Taj Mahal in India and the Washington Monument being destroyed.

Pixels sees a variety of iconic gaming characters, including Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, attacking earth after misinterpreting arcade games as a declaration of war against them. It stars Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, and Josh Gad as “Arcaders” tasked with saving the world.

In the leaked emails, Sony executives said they feared the movie might not be approved for release in China had they been kept this scene, and another where China was suggested to possibly be responsible for the alien attack. Yet another scene contained a reference to a “Communist-conspiracy brother.”

All of these scenes were ultimately cut. Sony Pictures China chief Li Chow said in a December 2013 email to senior Sony executives: “Even though breaking a hole on the Great Wall may not be a problem as long as it is part of a worldwide phenomenon, it is actually unnecessary because it will not benefit the China release at all. I would then, recommend not to do it.”

Also at this time, emails show that Sony executives were keen to move a car chase scene involving Pac-Man from Tokyo, Japan to Shanghai, China. However, Li Chow also shut this down, citing potential “sensitivity” concerns.

“As to relocating the Pac-Man action from Tokyo to Shanghai, this is not a good idea because it will involve destruction all over the city and may likely cause some sensitivity,” she wrote. “In other words, it is rather hard to say whether it would be a problem because the unwritten rule is that it is acceptable if there is no real intention in destroying a certain building or street and if it is just collateral damage. But where would you draw the line?”

Sony Pictures declined to comment specifically, but did explain that, “There are myriad factors that go into determining what is best for a film’s release, and creating content that has wide global appeal without compromising creative integrity is top among them.”

Pixels opened on Friday as the No. 1 movie, generating $9.2 million on Friday alone. Critics, however, have not been kind to the film, directed by Harry Potter and Home Alone‘s Christopher Columbus.

Looking for more video game movie coverage? Check out this image gallery to see all the video game movies currently in production–and there are lots.

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Author: Eddie Makuch

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