In another example of the importance the Chinese box office is to Hollywood, Fast and the Furious 9 star John Cena took to social media in the Middle Kingdom to apologize for referring to Taiwan as a country.
In the eyes of the Chinese government, Taiwan is a part of its territory, and refuses to recognize it as an independent nation.
Cena's comment, made during a promotional event for the film, sparked outrage on Chinese social media platform Weibo, which is tightly regulated by the country's Communist government.
In Mandarin, the wresting star-turned actor said, "I did many, many interviews for Fast & Furious 9, and I made a mistake during one interview. The F9 crew gave me a lot of information," he said.
Cena added, "I have to say this right now...which is very, very, very important, that I love and respect China and Chinese people. I'm very, very sorry for my mistake. I apologize."
The apology received more than 5,000 comments on the social media platform, according to the South China Morning Press. One comment -- "Please say in Chinese that Taiwan is part of China. Otherwise, we won’t accept it" -- had over 3,200 likes.
Not incidentally, Fast and Furious 9 is a box office giant in China, having earned nearly $150 million since its debut on May 21. The Fast franchise overall has earned well over a billion bucks in China alone.