04 July 2011

The First Avenger Overseas

The New York Times reported somewhat surprising news about the marketing of the new Captain America movie:
Marvel and Paramount Pictures, which is distributing "Captain America: The First Avenger," figured they would simply release the film as the truncated "The First Avenger" in foreign countries. But in a surprise, Paramount's overseas operation objected, arguing that Captain America had too much brand value, even in spots like France that are leery of embracing Team America too readily. . . .

In the end, the studios decided that Captain America would keep his name in all but three countries: Russia, Ukraine and South Korea. 
Ironically, this movie is set during World War 2, when the US and USSR were allies. There are tales of Captain America fighting against the Nazis alongside the Soviet Army. Of course, the 1950s version of the character was anti-communist, but those years were officially written out of Steve Rogers’s life story when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby revived the character in early 1964.

Since that resurrection, Captain America has usually represented the struggle between America’s high ideals and the realities of our culture and foreign policy. He’s not just chest-beating; sometimes he’s proud and sometimes he’s embarrassed for us all. I suspect Europe respected that idealism.

I’m still surprised about South Korea, though.

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