China's most expensive movie Asura becomes epic flop

Angelo Anderson
July 18, 2018

With a production budget reported at 750m yuan (£85m), Asura - with its complex special effects, big-name stars and huge crew - was hailed as China's most expensive film ever made.

Directed by Hollywood stunt veteran Peng Zhang (Kick-Ass, The Last Samurai, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Asura was meant to launch its own multi-movie franchise.

The move highlights the challenges being faced by China as it looks to promote home-grown productions to rival imported blockbusters from Hollywood. Several big-budget Chinese films have flopped while more modest productions have done well.

Unless the film achieves much greater success the second time round, "Asura's" $105 million loss would make it one of the biggest flops in movie history. -China co-production starring Matt Damon.

However, Asura was also battling stiff competition from recent Chinese action movie Dying To Survive, which has dominated the box office since its release earlier this month, so far making $366 million in 11 days.

"Asura", a fantasy epic based on Tibetan mythology, was yanked from cinemas by producers after it brought in a meager 49.5 million yuan ($7.4 million) and received a lowly rating of 3.1 on the Chinese movie review site Douban.

A representative of Zhenjian Films told the Chinese news portal Sina that the decision to pull the film "was made not only because of the bad box office", but "to make some changes to the film and release it again".

The film hit cinemas on Friday, but by Sunday the film's official social media account posted a statement saying it would be removed from theaters from 10 p.m. that night.

But the online reviews are raising suspicions, and paid trolls may have been manipulating the review sites, the films' producers said, according to Hollywood Reporter.

Alibaba Pictures did not have an immediate comment.

China, which is on track to overtake the North America film market, has become an increasingly important region for global producers looking to pump up their box-office returns, despite a quota on imported films and strict censorship.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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