MANILA, Philippines – Megaworld Lifestyle Malls announced over the weekend that select screen times for the highly-anticipated sequel to Avengers: Infinity War would include Chinese subtitles – attracting the ire of Filipinos online, including those who booked their tickets for Avengers: Endgame early.
On Facebook, the official page of Southwoods Mall said select cinemas from April 24 to 28 would have the added feature:
Eastwood Cinemas - Cinema 6
April 25 10:40 PM
April 26 5:00 PM
April 28 12:00 AM
April 29 12:00 AM
Venice Cineplex - Cinema 1
April 25 10:30 AM
April 26 10:30 AM
April 27 12:30 AM
April 28 12:30 AM
Southwoods Cinemas - Cinema 2
April 26 11:10 PM
April 27 11:10 PM
April 28 9:10 AM
Lucky Chinatown Cinemas - Cinema 2
April 25 12:45 PM
April 26 12:45 PM
April 27 12:45 PM
April 28 12:45 PM
Newport Cinemas - Cinema 4
April 24 2:40 PM, 11:50 PM and 3:30 AM
The comments section was quickly flooded with demands for refunds because they didn't know the movie would have Chinese subtitles.
Most of the screen times with Chinese subtitles are at non-peak hours.
"As stated in the announcement and indicated in our website, only select cinemas and screenings will have Chinese subtitles. This does not automatically apply to all screenings including those wherein tickets were purchased in advance. We also ensure that customers are properly informed if the screenings they chose will have Chinese subtitles prior to their purchase," the mall chain said in the comments section.
It's important to know the underpinning issues – particularly, the geopolitical kind – to understand why the reaction over the screening of Endgame with Chinese subtitles got such a fast and intense reaction from users online. (READ: 'A friend in need': China's promises to PH)
China and the Philippines have had a rather complicated relationship in the past decade.
China claims practically the entire South China Sea (West Philippine Sea), covering parts that are also claimed by other countries, including the Philippines. In 2016, the Philippines won an arbitral ruling against China under then newly-elected President Rodrigo Duterte.
But the relations between the two counties have noticeably changed under Duterte, who has seemingly taken a liking to China – while taking a step away from its long-time ally, the United States.
It's not a popular choice among Filipinos, however.
Concerns are also growing that Chinese nations – some here illegally – are depriving Filipinos of much-need jobs. (READ: Trust in China 'neutral' as U.S. keeps 'very good' rating)
There is also the issue of loans from China. (READ: Made in China: Loan terms with waivers, shrouded in secrecy)
In China, Endgame is already breaking records ahead of its release. It reportedly sold one million tickets within the first 6 hours of availability – something no other film has pulled off in China. – Rappler.com