On May 11, Weibo user Donggu Liang Miaomiaowu 冬菇凉喵喵喵呜 went to the Tongliao Wanda Cinema in Inner Mongolia to watch Avengers: Infinity War. Before the movie started, the cinema broadcast the following message aimed especially at female audience members (audio clip in Chinese):
You should do nothing but eat your popcorn silently. Don’t mess with your man while he is worshipping the silver screen. If your man gets really excited while watching the movie, please pretend to be interested. And based on his facial expressions, you should say things like ‘yes’ and ‘totally.’
There was also a reminder for male viewers:
Don’t try to explain the characters to your women in the middle of the movie. They won’t be able to recognize them just like you can’t differentiate between lipsticks. Get them some popcorn, soda, and snacks to keep their mouths full.
Her post went viral, and on the same day, the theater issued a public apology (in Chinese):
“There are some inappropriate expressions in a reminder message attached to the film, which have drawn scrutiny from movie fans. We sincerely apologize for that,” the cinema’s official Weibo account wrote, adding that the original intention was just to create “a fun movie-watching atmosphere” and that the offensive language was caused by recklessness during the creative process.
But the underlying assumptions of the message — that women, as a whole, can’t get the charm of the Marvel Universe and are naturally not interested in superheroes — offended many female Marvel fans, and the apology letter did little to ease the anger.
“Wanda apparently thinks insulting women is ‘fun,’” one Weibo user wrote (in Chinese).