Watch: The Monster Hunter controversy explained
The producers of new sci-fi actioner Monster Hunter have apologised after racist dialogue in the movie found its way to screens in China, leading to a ban in cinemas.
Germany's Constantin Film, which also makes the Resident Evil series, said it “sincerely apologises to Chinese audiences for a line of dialogue contained in an early scene of Monster Hunter”.
It went on: “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.”
News of the Paul WS Anderson-directed video game movie being pulled from screens on its first day of release arrived over the weekend, after the offending scene blew up on Chinese social media.
In the scene, Miami-born Asian-American rapper and actor Jin Au-Yeung (aka MC Jin) is speaking to another character.
“Look at my knees,” he says. “What kind of knees are these? Chinese.”
Watch the Monster Hunter trailer
The remark is a reference to a playground rhyme that has been used to mock Asian children, and the offence caused was exacerbated when it also appeared in subtitles.
The blunder is particularly baffling because the movie is a co-production with Chinese distribution giant Tencent Pictures.
Western movies released in China are heavily vetted by government authorities before being given the green light for release.
According to Deadline, Tencent is working with authorities to deal with the scene, though it's not yet when it will return to screens, or if the dialogue will also be removed from other markets too.
Based on the Capcom video game of the same name, Monster Hunter stars Milla Jovovich as Captain Natalie Artemis, a US army ranger and a member of a UN military team that enters a portal to a world populated by giant monsters.
Thai MMA star Tony Jaa plays a monster hunter who assists the team, and Clifford “TI” Harris and Ron Perlman are also on the bill.
Monster Hunter is coming to UK cinemas soon.
Watch: Monster Hunter UK featurette