Adam Sandler’s upcoming movie “Pixels” will be released in China on Sept. 15, thanks in part to self-censorship by Sony Pictures to appease the communist nation’s censorship boards.
New details from last year’s leaked Sony emails show the studio feared Chinese authorities so much that a scene in which the Great Wall is damaged was scrubbed, along with another where China was mentioned as a potential hacking threat, Reuters reported Friday.
“Pixels,” which opens in the U.S. Friday, is about aliens that attack earth using classic video games as an inspiration for doomsday weapons.
“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,” Li Chow, chief representative of Sony Pictures in China, wrote in a December 2013 email to senior Sony executives, Reuters reported.
The final version of “Pixels” also expunges any mention of China a potential cybersecurity threat. Google, Iran, and Russia are postulated as potential cyber-criminals instead.
“China can be mentioned alongside other super powers but they may not like ‘Russia and China don’t have this kind of technology’,” Li wrote to Sony executives, Reuters reported. “And in view of recent news on China hacking into government servers, they may object to ‘a communist-conspiracy brother hacked into the mail server…’”
A spokesman for Sony Pictures, a unit of Tokyo-based Sony Corp., would not comment on Reuters’ story.
“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,” the spokesman said, Reuters reported.