As reported by ZhugeEX on Twitter, the Monster Hunter movie has been pulled from theaters in mainland China. The removal comes just one day after the film released. Movie-goers in China heavily criticized the film on social media over a scene with a joke they found racially insensitive.
The outrage from Chinese viewers involves a scene between two characters where one makes a joke. The character says, “Look at my knees. What kind of knees are these? … Chi-knees.” The joke in question is likely a reference to a racist rhyme often told by children in English-speaking countries. Out of respect, we will not repeat the racist rhyme here. You can see the ten-second clip from the Monster Hunter movie below. Furthermore, Twitter user ZhugeEX offers an excellent thread discussing cultural awareness and different interpretations on the matter.
Great writing in the Monster Hunter movie… pic.twitter.com/jTRnKOClCi
— Daniel Ahmad (@ZhugeEX) December 4, 2020
Capcom responded on Weibo (a mainland Chinese version of Twitter) by saying it would investigate the situation and follow-up with the production company. Key figures in mainland China also called out American hypocrisy regarding jokes against Asians being acceptable. Considering the growing importance of the mainland Chinese market in Hollywood films’ bottom line, this no doubt throws a wrench into the success of the Monster Hunter movie in a key market.
As a side-effect of the backlash to the film, some users are “review-bombing” Monster Hunter World on Steam. So far, users left over 2,000 negative reviews on the video game’s page while criticizing the film.
The Monster Hunter movie will release in US theaters on December 25, 2020.