The third Avenger’s film, Avengers: Infinity War has quickly become one of the most talked about upcoming movies of the year, even though it is still almost a year away. The untitled fourth Avengers film is actually already in production and filming several days in Tokyo. These Marvel movies have done very well in Japan, but the Avengers movie productions have had a somewhat checkered past when it comes to their Japanese versions and marketing.
The First F*ck Up
When the first Avengers movie was coming to Japan, it was featured with a tagline that translated to, “Hey Japan, this is a movie.” This little joke was actually pretty upsetting to many people, with masses eventually swearing off the movie. Some saw it as America looking down on Japan and treating them as less cultured. It was also seen as an insult to the Japanese film industry. However, this didn’t stop the movie from making a bunch of money there.
F*ck Up No. 2
Up until this film, all the previous Marvel films leveraged professional voice actors to dub over their movies for Japanese audiences, but with the Avengers they decided to hire based on fame rather than voice acting experience. (Many fans blamed all of this on Disney Japan who heavily marketed on the bigger names which, they said, hurt the overall quality of the movie.)
I imagine there was a lot of pressure on that movie to be a massive success worldwide and whoever was in charge thought some big name Japanese actors might push that number a little higher. More than most other countries, Japan has an entire subculture of fandom surrounding voice actors, almost to worship status. Many moviegoers felt cheated under the guise of a corporation trying to make more money… so much so that they canceled their blu-ray preorders and bad mouthed the movie.
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