Paul VS Anderson’s Monster Hunter, which will hit US cinemas on December 25, is already causing quite a bit of discussion in China, where it has already been released.
The variety film has been removed from theaters since its opening day and is currently being censored by Chinese regulators due to a “ten-second film exchange that patriotic local viewers say is” insulting China. “
Monster Hunter, played by Milla Jovovich and based on Capcom’s hit game, “enjoyed midnight screenings in the small hours of Friday local time and officially debuted in Chinese cinemas on Friday, December 4th.” The film is now being pulled from local theaters across China due to an exchange that was thought to be frivolous.
Variety points out that Monster Hunter accounted for about 25% of all movie screenings in China on Friday. This figure has now fallen to around 0.7%.
One announcement, which was sent to cinemas, read: “The new version is being produced overnight and should be watched … Cinemas, please note strictly that the old version should not be shown once in the future.” Currently, despite this announcement, Variety claims that “even the release of the censored version has been effectively suspended”.
After that, “Chinese users have quickly flooded the video game Steam page with hundreds of raging, negative reviews.”
Obviously the relevant scene is a dumb, pun-y exchange between two characters it unknowingly led Chinese cinema-goers to think it was “a reference to an old, racist backyard rhyme that offends Asians.” Apparently, the situation was exacerbated by a translation that was localized in a way that was a “reference to colloquial Chinese”, forcing some viewers to take this moment as an insult.
In the film, Jovovič plays Natalia Artemis, the leader of a group of soldiers, who is transferred from their world to the world of Monster Hunter video games. Jovovič Artemis joins Tony Jaa and his boss The Admiral (Ron Perlmans).