refusing to screen The Departed for implying that Beijing has military connections.
That tide is turning. Large movie studios are beginning to enter lucrative "co-productions" with partners in China, utilizing the resources of both countries to create international hits. This, of course, has business implications, such as Dreamworks opening a new studio in China.
But more relevantly, this is affecting the creative process too. Major co-produced blockbusters yet to be released this year, including Looper and Cloud Atlas, prominently feature Chinese characters and settings. Even Stan Lee, the creator of Spider-Man and other big superheroes, has entered a co-production to create a Chinese superhero movie with global appeal. Creative freedom has always been bounded by business constraints, but this is a surprising new form of synergy.
Who knows if this will become a lasting trend like product placement, but for the near future, it's good to take heed of the business decisions behind new creative directions in film.