When Monster Hunter premiered in cinemas across China and Germany this weekend, its debut wasn’t exactly met with enthusiasm. People certainly showed up to see it, but Chinese viewers quickly noticed something was amiss. There was a pretty racially insensitive line during the film’s opening, more of which you can read about in our previous coverage of the incident. After intense backlash, the film was pulled from Chinese cinemas and the result is that Monster Hunter pretty much bellyflopped this weekend in terms of box-office gross. It debuted to the sum of around $5.3 million, hardly a dent in its production cost.
Working quickly to correct this wrong, production company Constantin Film has issued an apology for the line and has edited the content out of the movie in the hopes of getting it re-released soon. In a statement to the press, Constantin says it “sincerely apologizes to Chinese audiences for a line of dialogue contained in an early scene of Monster Hunter. There was absolutely no intent to discriminate, insult, or otherwise offend anyone of Chinese heritage. Constantin Film has listened to the concerns expressed by Chinese audiences and removed the line that has led to this inadvertent misunderstanding.”
Tencent, which distributed the film in China, is working with the Chinese government to figure out how that line got past censors. It will also be removing it from future versions of the film, though there’s still no word on whether or not Monster Hunter will be returning to cinemas. Even if it doesn’t end up making a return to China, you can be damn certain the North American release will not have the offensive line intact.
At the moment, director and writer Paul W.S. Anderson has not addressed the issue at hand. Considering he is the man responsible for the line, I have to wonder if he included it simply for the controversy. Most people weren’t exactly excited about Monster Hunter, but many will flock to it now that it has a stigma attached.