Can You Spot Who's Missing From This 'The Monkey King 2' Billboard In KL?
Half-pig character removed because actor is less known in Malaysia, says film distributor
Stressing that there is no hidden agenda in removing Zhu Bajie from 'The Monkey King 2' posters, GSC Movies distribution manager Hou Xiu Chang said that the decision was made based on commercial reasons, adding that Malaysians are not familiar with actors from China
“In Malaysia, many people know Aaron Kwok (who plays the Monkey King) and Him Law (Sha Wujing). We must let the moviegoers look at the familiar faces in order to attract them," she was quoted as saying to Chinese daily Oriental Daily News.
"Initially, we planned to put the characters of the Monkey King or White-Bone Demon on the posters. But the film distributor from China could not make it on time to give us the poster,” she added.
Zhu Bajie is played by Chinese actor Xiao Shenyang. Lead character Tang Sanzang is also played by another actor from China, Feng Shaofeng.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, a GSC spokesperson also highlighted that the censorship board had no hand in the decision, adding that film distributors have the right to modify movie posters to suit the Malaysian audience
“The GSC Movies team did not receive any instruction and the amendment was made for commercial reasons," she said.
Owing to the costs involved, Hou said the distributor would not replace the billboard but the posters at cinema theatres the movie is screened would be changed occasionally.
4 JAN: 2015 really wasn't a great year for pigs. Not only was a newly-installed pig-like ride removed from a playground in Penang, wombats were dragged into the fray when an Australian company's mascot was mistaken for a pig.
In July last year, a wombat was mistaken for a pig in Servcorp's Hari Raya ad, which was broadcast in the KL city centre. The Australian company took down the ad and apologised for the misunderstanding after a photo of the ad went viral on social media.
Then, in November, the Penang Island City Council were said to have replaced a blue pig-shaped springer at the Esplanade playground after Malay-rights group Persatuan Mukabuku Pulau Pinang posted photos and condemned the ride, accusing the DAP-led state government of ignoring the sensitivities of Muslims in Penang.
Entering 2016, an advertiser has taken the liberty to ensure that their promotional materials are pig-free. A billboard for the upcoming 'The Monkey King 2' in KL does not feature one of the movie's key characters, the half-pig/half-human Zhu Bajie, at all!
According to a report by Malaysiakini, the billboard is located along Jalan Loke Yew in Kuala Lumpur. Additionally, the character is also absent from posters uploaded to the official websites of local cinema chains such as Golden Screen Cinemas, TGV Cinemas, MBO, and Lotus Five Star Cinemas.
To compare, these are what the original posters, with Zhu Bajie in his rightful place, look like:
For context, 'The Monkey King 2' is based on a segment of the popular Wu Cheng'en novel 'Journey to the West', one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature
The main characters of the saga include Buddhist monk Xuanzang (Tang Sanzang) and his disciples the Monkey King (Sun Wukong), Pigsy (Zhu Bajie / Zhu Wuneng), Sandy (Sha Wujing), and a white horse called Yulong (the third son of the Dragon King of the West Sea). The novel narrates the group's legendary pilgrimage to the "Western Regions" a.k.a. India to obtain sacred texts (sūtras).
'Journey to the West' is probably one of the most widely adapted works in Chinese literature, with many of its stories and characters being translated into films, TV series, theatre, comics, manga, anime, and music
Probably the most-watched 'Journey to the West' adaptations ever, any '90s kid with a TV set at home knows what it's like to keep up with the TVB drama series every weekday for a few months during their school days!
Back to the billboard in question, many netizens agreed that the exclusion of the character is pretty ridiculous, citing that imagery containing pigs are not at all haram and that it was no issue when the TV series aired over a decade ago
Some even joked that the Year of the Pig is going to be banned next if the irrational "fear" of pigs goes on
Starring Aaron Kwok as the Monkey King alongside Gong Li and Kelly Chen, 'The Monkey King 2' premieres in cinemas nationwide on 4 February 2016. Watch the trailer here:
FUN FACT: This year's the Year of the Monkey!