Remakes are a fact of life in Hollywood, and in the late 2000s, MGM made an attempt to stave off financial ruin by looking toward its deep vaults for potential titles to revisit. As part of this initiative, the studio hired Dan Bradley to helm a remake of John Milius' 1984 film Red Dawn, about a ragtag group of teenagers who mount a resistance against invading Soviet Union forces. Starring Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, among others, the remake was originally scheduled for release in 2010 but was shelved due to the studio's then-pending bankruptcy.
Unlike the original film, Bradley's remake focused on an invasion from China. However, during post-production, the studio opted to change the invading forces from Chinese to North Korean so they could release the film in China—the world's second-largest market for movies. The change included altering the original premise from China invading the U.S. after the country defaulted on its loans to a North Korean invasion following a European economic crisis that resulted in a weakened NATO alliance.
DMG Entertainment founder Dan Mintz, whose company specializes in distributing U.S. films in China, told the Los Angeles Times that "there would have been a real backlash" if MGM released the original version of the film. "It's like being invited to a dinner party and insulting the host all night long. There's no way to look good…. The film itself was not a smart move." Producer Tripp Vinson agreed, saying, "We were initially very reluctant to make any changes. But after careful consideration, we constructed a way to make a scarier, smarter and more dangerous Red Dawn that we believe improves the movie." Critics and audiences disagreed.