The China Film Administration (CFA) has ordered a second censorship review of previously approved films after a racism scandal caused the video game adaptation “Monster Hunters” to be pulled from theaters, according to a Thursday report from The Hollywood Reporter.
A 10-second scene in the film showed Asian American actor MC Jin referring to his knees as “Chi-nese,” an apparent reference to the racist playground rhyme used to insult Asian Americans.
“Monster Hunters,” starring Milla Jovovich, reportedly had been expected to do well in China. It is based off of a Capcom video game hugely popular in the country, and other video game adaptations such as “Resident Evil,” also starring Jovovich, have enjoyed great success in China.
After the controversy caused by the film, Beijing sources told The Hollywood Reporter that the CFA has strengthened its censorship process.
The outlet notes that the largest film to be affected by this change is the Japanese “Demon Slayer” which has already earned nearly $300 million worldwide and was expected to be a blockbuster in China.
The film is not expected to have any difficulty passing a second round of review, the Reporter notes, but the process is likely to push back its release for at least another month. Chinese regulators do not allow foreign films to open during the Chinese New Year holiday period, which means “Demon Slayer” may have to wait until February to be released.
High-quality pirated copies will likely be available by that time, so the film’s overall revenue may be severely affected by this change in schedule.
The Reporter notes Beijing's censorship had begun to increase to never-before-seen levels even before the controversy caused by “Monster Hunter," with Chinese filmmakers having to re-edit their recent works due to sudden censorship changes.