Dying to Survive (我不是药神 wǒ bùshì yào shén), a movie about cancer patients illegally importing drugs in defiance of Chinese law and a price-gouging foreign pharmaceutical company, is the surprise summer box office hit of 2018. But its marketers are somewhat ruining its shine.
Earlier today, the movie’s official Weibo account posted an illustration to celebrate its box office revenue surpassing 2.6 billion yuan ($389 million) in the first fortnight of its release. Some internet users discovered that it bears a striking similarity to a promotional poster for Japanese anime My Hero Academia (see above).
Dying to Survive apologized (in Chinese) on Monday, admitting to plagiarism: “Due to our recklessness in production, we hurt the feelings of our movie fans and anime fans. We sincerely apologize for the mistake.”
The apology, however, didn’t sit well with many internet users, who are now asking the movie to apologize to the manga artist Kohei Horikoshi, author of My Hero Academia. “You ripped off his work. Why are you saying sorry to us?” one person wrote (in Chinese).
This is not the first time that Dying to Survive has plagiarized artwork. An earlier poster apparently copied an artwork from the Japanese manga series One Piece, but that did not attract much attention until today’s ripoff was exposed.