With studios and financiers more cautious than ever these days to put their money behind ambitious projects that don't sell toys and enhance brands, producers have been looking East for partners to help raise funds for movies. For example, The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer's "Cloud Atlas" had an injection of money from Eastern backers, and Edward Zwick's developing "The Great Wall" is being moved along by Legendary East, a whole new shingle from Legendary Pictures based in that quickly growing market for Hollywood fare. Another film with coin from overseas? Rian Johnson's "Looper," and it looks like that relationship has made for an interesting quirk regarding the film's release.
The LA Times reports that that film will be delivered in a longer cut to Chinese theaters. Why? Well the twisty story starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis — about a hitman who is ordered to kill his future self — originally had portions of the story set in Paris, but once Chinese financing came in, it was switched out to Shanghai. Now, those backers want to make sure their investment is felt, with more footage "featuring Shanghai streets and landmarks" being inserted back into the picture for the film's Chinese release.
So what will U.S. audiences be missing? Apparently mostly exposition about Gordon-Levitt's character and his **spoiler alert?** "downward spiral." But if you think you'll be getting short changed, just keep in mind that Johnson's preferred cut of the movie is the one that U.S. audiences will be getting (test audiences apparently found the extra scenes threw off the pacing of the movie). Essentially, Chinese theaters are getting "Looper" with some deleted scenes tossed in as well, and we'd wager they will turn up on the eventual Blu-ray and DVD, so don't sweat it.
Either way, it's not every day you hear news out of China where they are asking for more from a movie, instead of less. We'll see if we would've liked to see those scenes as well (or not) when the movie opens stateside on September 28th.