Sony was 100% behind Quentin Tarantino's decision not to edit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood for China. The country blocked what was supposed to be Tarantino's first proper release over the decision. When it was announced China was blocking Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, it was erroneously reported that the director was working with Chinese investors to make the necessary changes. However, that was later proven to be untrue, which probably cost the studio quite a bit of money.
When it comes down to it, Sony stands by Quentin Tarantino and his decision to not edit Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The movie is currently in the spotlight after Golden Globe and Critics' Choice awards wins and has its eyes on some Academy Awards. Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman was recently interviewed and talked about the China decision. He had this to say.
"I think Quentin did the right thing, and he had our support in doing that. Obviously that had financial consequences, but character is tested when things are difficult, and not when they're easy... When you are in business with singular filmmakers, you have to support those filmmakers. That's the choice you've made, the boat you are on. You have to support the captain. A lot of that was bad luck and timing with everything going on in the world. But I believe he made the right decision."
Quentin Tarantino has certainly earned some respect in the entertainment business over the years, but it's pretty rare to see a big studio allow a director to keep his/her vision intact. It has been estimated that China could have brought several more million dollars towards the international box office haul, but Sony stood by Tarantino's vison. As for the director, he would not have cared about editing if it were a few little things. He had this to say about the studio backing him.
"They absolutely backed me, 100%. They were all disappointed, and so was I. Partly because we had Chinese co-producers and we wanted to do well by them. But there is a certain line you cannot cross. If it was just 'Ok, Cliff slams Katie's face into the fireplace four times... can we make it two times?' Ok, I could do that. To actually remove an entire scene because the country finds that scene objectionable? No."
Quentin Tarantino stuck to his guns and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has been hailed as one of the best movies of 2019. The director took history and filtered it through his own lens, which is something that he does quite often. But, this was something that nobody saw coming and what has given the movie more meaning in today's world of sequels and reboots. The original story is something that struggles to make it into the mainstream these days, though 2019 started to change that.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is arguably one of the best movies Quentin Tarantino has ever put out. The performances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Timothy Olyphant, Margaret Qualley, Julia Butters, and more help take Tarantino's story to another place, which could have been jeopardized during some international editing. The original interview with Tarantino and Tim Rothman was conducted by Deadline.