The Curse of La Llorona is based on a Mexican legend about the ghost of a mother who drowned her children and now wanders the Earth snatching up lost kids. Much like Pokémon, you could say she’s “gotta catch ‘em all.”
So perhaps it was fitting that a Montreal theater accidentally played the R-rated horror film instead of Pokémon Detective Pikachu on Thursday, leaving families fleeing and children in tears.
Ryan George—who produces the YouTube comedy series “Pitch Meeting” for for Screen Rant—was in attendance for what was supposed to be a screening of the family-friendly mystery-adventure film. He live-tweeted the experience, starting with trailers that seemed like poor matches for Detective Pikachu’s audience.
According to George, the Annabelle Comes Home trailer was then followed by the trailers for Joker and Child’s Play.
It was only after those trailers ended that he realized the full magnitude of the theater’s error. “OH MY GOD THEY’RE PLAYING LA LLORANA [sic] INSTEAD OF DETECTIVE PIKACHU,” he tweeted, along with a video showing La Llorona drowning her child in a stream.
“As soon as the Annabelle Comes Home trailer ended, you could hear a few kids crying,” George told Gizmodo. “When La Llorona started, it was pretty quiet in the theatre—everyone still thought it might still be Detective Pikachu.”
But it didn’t take long for the audience to figure out there would be no friendly pocket monsters. Instead, they were introduced to a child-snatching ghost.
“When the image of the mother drowning her kid showed up on screen, several people left the room to go warn the theatre staff,” George told Gizmodo.
George would not say what theater this happened at for professional reasons. Gizmodo reached out to a theater that multiple news outlets cited as being the site of the mixup and will update this story if and when they respond.
The theater stopped the film about five minutes in, according to George. Theater employees apologized and directed the audience to another theater where Detective Pikcachu was paused. Once the audience relocated, George says the theater started the film from the beginning.