Having premiered just yesterday, December 4, at German and Chinese box offices, Sony’s adaptation of Capcom’s blockbuster Monster Hunter franchise has been pulled from theaters across China due to a racially-insensitive scene.
The scene in question features actor Jin Au-Yeung’s character remarking on his “Chinese,” knees, seemingly rapping casually, musing on his (and presumably his character’s) Chinese heritage. The scene was captured here by Daniel Ahmad on Twitter (@ZhugeEx).
Great writing in the Monster Hunter movie… pic.twitter.com/jTRnKOClCi
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) December 4, 2020
The seemingly-innocuous bit of banter was quickly picked up on Chinese social media, and its origins in a well-known and racist children’s rhyme, derogatory towards those of Asian descent. Japanese and Chinese are explicitly named.
The scene, somehow having snuck past China’s notoriously-strict censors on film and other entertainment media, has caused enough of an outcry that Chinese distributor Tencent has pulled Monster Hunter entirely from local theaters, and is apparently working to distribute a “new version… overnight,” according to messages received by theater staff. There are, however, unconfirmed reports that the updated DCP (Digital Cinema Package; the file assortment received by exhibition houses to project films digitally) is being held up, leaving questions whether Monster Hunter‘s Chinese release will proceed any time soon.
While the film, starring Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa, is held up in China it remains playing in several other markets including Germany and the Netherlands. Sony is set to release Monster Hunter to US theaters on Christmas Day, later this month.