People falling over? Funny everywhere. Superheroes flying around in awesome outfits? Universally cool. But when it comes to the finer details of pop culture, what strikes a chord can vary hugely from country to country.
That’s something movie makers often keep in mind, which is why these seven films all feature moments that are different depending on where you watch them…
Sigourney Weaver is known in the US as the narrator of natural history shows like The Blue Planet, so she was the obvious choice to play the announcer at Finding Dory’s Marine Life Institute. In other countries, equally recognisable voices were used – in France, news anchor Claire Chazal and for Spanish speakers Mexican astronaut Rodolfo Neri Vela, no less. But while the film’s director Andrew Stanton admitted Weaver had been an obvious choice because “she was the equivalent of David Attenborough,” sadly Attenborough himself didn’t grace the microphone in the UK.
In Monsters University, Randall Boggs bakes a batch of cupcakes in a bid to make friends with the campus fraternities. In the US version, the icing on the cakes reads “Be My Pal,” but in order to leap the language barrier around the world, all international versions sum up the sentiment with a simple smiley face. No matter what the cupcakes say, the message is clear – bribing people with tasty treats works everywhere.
Being forced to eat vegetables is something that kids all around the world can relate to – but depending on the country, the offending greens may change. In the UK and US versions of Inside Out, Riley refuses to eat broccoli. But in Japan, it’s green bell peppers that kids find particularly yucky, so that was what she found on her plate instead. And this wasn’t the only change – director Pete Docter revealed that small cultural differences led the team to make 28 graphic alterations to a total of 45 shots.
In the standard release of Zootopia, famous Canadian news anchor Peter Mansbridge morphed into Peter Moosebridge. New Zealand and Australia, though, had a koala, Japan got a tanuki (the racoon dog which features prominently in Japanese folklore), while China and Brazil had their respective national animals, the panda and the jaguar. Sadly, rumours that the UK version would feature a corgi were off the mark…
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) must adapt to modern life after being stuck in the 1940s. He has a cultural to-do list to get through, and Marvel Studios wrote 10 different lists for different countries. All versions include Thai Food, Star Wars/Trek and Nirvana but while the American list features I Love Lucy, the Australian release has Steve Irwin and Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, South Korea gets violent movie drama Oldboy and video game Dance Dance Revolution and the British version replaces it with… Sherlock.
In fact, RadioTimes.com was integral in getting the TV detective on to the big screen as we teamed up with Marvel to host a vote asking our readers which UK TV show would appear on Steve’s list. You’re welcome Mr Cumberbatch…
This is the bit where Buzz Lightyear is giving a (very rousing) speech to Andy’s toys before they embark on a perilous journey across town. In the original version, an American flag appears behind him and the US national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner plays. For the international release however, Pixar changed the flag to a spinning globe, and Randy Newman wrote One World Anthem especially for it.
Iron Man 3 is a co-production between Marvel Studios and China-based DMG Entertainment, so the Chinese version has extra scenes. Some revolve around Chinese characters getting more airtime – namely Tony Stark’s old friend Dr Wu and his nurse. Others are blatant product placement from Gu Li Duo, a popular milk brand in China. Overall, about four minutes of footage was added. The add-ons were met with criticism, either because they seemed pointless or didn’t fit well with the rest of the plot.