Photo: Filming of Top Gun movie (01) 1985; public domain
From the time that America’s growing film industry was mobilized to keep up America’s fighting spirit in World War Two with actors like a young Ronald Reagan, Hollywood and the Pentagon have long been strange and unlikely allies. Hollywood benefits from access to military sites for shooting their films, and the Department of Defense benefits from positive portrayals of servicemen, which drives up recruiting numbers.
However, Hollywood has grown unfaithful to their partnership with the DoD as foreign dollars lure them into capitulating to the Chinese propaganda machine. With its considerable population, Chinese theaters offer a tempting payday for American film companies. However, the Chinese Communist Party demands that certain content be removed from the movies before being shown on Chinese shores.
Lest you think that this only affects the cuts shown in China, consider the case of the 2012 remake of the movie Red Dawn. In it, a band of American teens on the West Coast battle against an occupying force. Originally, the occupying force was supposed to be Chinese, but production company MGM was so determined to get their film into Chinese theaters that they re-shot and re-edited the entire movie to make the bad guys North Korean. China refused to show the movie anyway.
More recently, references to Taiwan were scrubbed from the movie Top Gun: Maverick to appease Chinese censors. After much outcry, a Chinese company pulled their funding from the film and the Taiwan references were restored. Top Gun went on to be one of the biggest blockbuster hits of recent years.
Thanks to conservatives in the United States Senate, the Department of Defense will no longer aid film production companies that kowtow to the CCP. The new policy stipulates that the DoD won’t work on any film that plans to edit content in order to be palatable to the Chinese communists. This is a huge win against our biggest strategic adversary. A Red Dawn-style occupation of America may not be on the immediate horizon, but I’m glad that the Department of Defense had the good sense to end the Chinese occupation of American movie theaters.