It is virtually unheard of for Keanu Reeves to be on the receiving end of complaints from a single person, so the idea of him coming under fire from an entire country seems impossible to comprehend. However, Chinese nationalists have called for a boycott of the recently released The Matrix Resurrections in retaliation for the star being announced in the line-up on the Tibet House U.S. Benefit Concert to be held on March 3rd. Tibet is currently under the control of the People’s Republic of China, and the upcoming concert has led to some unhappy people, according to a report by Taiwan’s Central News Agency.
Reeves is one of the artists listed to take part in the concert in some way. However, it is unclear exactly how The Matrix and John Wick movie series star will be involved, on a roster that also includes Iggy Pop, Jason Isbell and Patti Smith, among others. With many issues over Hollywood movie releases in China recently, including many Marvel films still waiting for a release in the country, a boycott of The Matrix Resurrections and, depending on how far they choose to take it, next year’s John Wick 4, is something that would not be welcome among film studios who are still struggling to see films hit their full potential in theaters.
What is the Tibet House U.S. Benefit Concert?
Since 1989, the annual Tibet House U.S. Benefit Concert has been held to ensure the survival of Tibetan culture. The concert is held around the time of the Tibetan New Year, which is traditionally signaled by The Monlam Prayer Festival, a fortnight-long festival that used to be held in Lhasa, that has been prohibited for the last six decades by the Chinese Communist Party. This year’s concert will be a virtual event due to the ongoing Covid pandemic, with all proceeds going to the Tibet House U.S. as usual.
The Tibet House U.S. is linked to a coalition of organizations that there founded in 1987 at the request of the Dalai Lama. Since the annexation of Tibet in 1950 by the PRC, the Chinese government has forced the Tibet people and culture into a corner, something that has included films only being allowed into Chinese cinemas if they do not include any Tibetan references in their content, which has caused some issues.
Marvel’s Doctor Strange was one movie that suffered a backlash and claims of whitewashing of characters as it avoided specifically laying down references to Tibetan culture and people, according to screenwriter C. Robert Cargill. Marvels biggest issues recently have come from Eternals’ director Chloe Zhao, who instead of becoming a national hero for her success in Hollywood, has become controversial for expressing her personal views of growing up in China, and the variety of human characters and relationships in the film that don’t necessarily sit well with views of the leadership in the country, which has led to that and other Marvel movies failing to make it to theaters.
The Matrix Resurrections opened in China last month but pulled in only $7.5 million in its opening weekend. While the film underperformed in most territories, it was expected to do much better than this on its Chinese release, and with the additional calls for a boycott, it doesn’t look like things are going to get much better for the movie now.