Can a joke make you lose millions? It seems that it is something that is happening to the movie Monster Hunter in China.
Monster Hunter has been pulled from theaters in China after backlash to a joke in the film that many condemn as racist. The film opened in the Asian giant on December 4, with some previews the night before. According to the information, Tencent, the company that handles the film’s distribution, is working to get a new version of the film sent to theaters without the offending scene. But it is not clear whether the quick fix will be enough for the people of that country to go to see it.
What is that joke? And… Is it really that bad?
Monster Hunter has been embroiled in widespread public outcry over a phrase that is, at best, an incredibly silly joke, somewhat out of tune as it is a reference to a long-maligned racial slur. Audiences in China are upset by a moment in the movie that has been released on social media, in which Asian-American actor Jin Au-Yeung (a rapper known as MC Jin) says to another character, “Look! my knees! What kind of knees are these? Chi-knees! ”.
Why does this bother China? The joke is a reference to the racist phrase “dirty knees, “which has been used since time immemorial to poke fun at children of Asian descent.
A very serious strategic mistake. To remove Monster Hunter from theaters in China is to lose a lot of money. Since it is currently the most important market and is saving the few releases that exist in 2020. In addition, due to the theme, the film based on the famous video game seemed perfect for that specific audience. Therefore, they should have removed that scene before releasing it.