In a film scene that has redeemed a part of a Chinese filmmaker, two American soldiers share a strange feast.
“Look at my knees!” A soldier, played by Jin Au-Yeung, smears Chinese-American Wrappers Known as MC Jin, he remains open on the backside of a military vehicle. “What kind of knees are these?”
A moment later, he answers his question: “Chi-nees.”
The scene created a stir in China, one of the largest film markets in the world and in the wake of an epidemic that has closed theaters around the world, perhaps the most significant.
The film, “Monster Hunter”, is an action film based on a popular video game, drawn from Chinese cinemas by its distributor, who promised that the scene would be cut.
Critics in China wrote online that the dialogue is abusive, reading it as a reference Taunt a racist playground Saying that people of Asian descent are dirty.
On Sunday, a German company Konstantin Film, which co-produced the film, issued an apology to the audience.
“It had no intention of discriminating, insulting or otherwise shutting down anyone of Chinese heritage,” it said.
The company said it had “carefully listened to the concerns expressed by Chinese viewers and removed the line that led to this misunderstanding.”
“Monster Hunter” was released in China on Friday 25 December, three weeks before the United States release date. But until the end of the weekend, a Chinese ticketing application cannot be found on Maoyan for tickets.
The film was also produced by Sony Pictures and Tencent, with a growing presence in Chinese Internet films. Neither responded to a request for comment.
The fate of “Monster Hunter” reflects China’s growing power in the film industry. Last year, it sold About $ 10 billion in ticketsAccording to government data, and industry experts predict it will happen soon Overtake the american market As the world’s largest.
The global epidemic has intensified the trend. China’s movie theaters have reopened slowly as the country has incorporated coronoviruses within its borders. In the United States, by contrast, studios are planning Movies release on streaming services As the infection spread and deaths increased.
However, China can be a complex market. Although its fond filmmakers love “The Transformers” and other big-budget American films, the studio must manage Beijing’s strict censorship, a desire to create domestic film industry and cultural differences that may turn viewers off or on .
The large studios teamed up with Chinese partners to introduce their artists to local artists, but the efforts were not always rewarded. In 2017, critics accused “The Great Wall”, an action film starring Matt Damon of Whitewashing. He has stated that in other films, Chinese-American actors have been left out Feel since In scenes.
The search for Chinese audiences has become particularly frightening as feelings of nationalism are sometimes spread online by the official Chinese media. Other companies, including Mercedes-Benz and hotel chain Marriott Is also pressured After an apology in China, online critics or state media criticized his advertising or other works.
“Chinese viewers cannot be patient in their eyes, and those who want to make money should weigh it,” A film critic in China wrote Weibo.
Another wrote“When people get angry” is when foreigners “use Chinese investment money to make movies to insult you.”
Umbrage is an example of China’s growing and excessive nationalism, fed by a Chinese Communist Party statement that “foreigners are not respecting China”, Kevin Carrico, a Chinese studies scholar at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia Senior lecturer said.
“There are some leaps of logic and wild associations that seem to be the source of crime here, as far as I can understand just a dumb joke or a play on words,” he said.
Some online critics pointed to Chinese subtitles as evidence that at least someone involved in the making of the English-language film found the scene problematic. The Chinese subtitle swapped the word “chi-neece” with “gold”, with some barely attempting to localize the transliterated sentence. According to a Chinese proverb, men who “sleep under the knees” do not bow down or freeze in front of others.
The initial estimated budget of “Monster Hunter” was about $ 60 million, According to the hollywood reporter. It sees Miley Jovovich as the leader of a team of elite soldiers, who are somehow transported to a land full of wild animals. Tony Jaa, a Thai action star, plays the titular character, who tries to help them survive.
Amber Wang and Christopher Buckley contributed reporting.