First $100m Chinese blockbuster pulled from cinemas after disastrous flop

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Asura (Credit: Alibaba Pictures)

The first Chinese movie to cost more than $100 million has been pulled from cinemas after a disastrous opening weekend.

Asura, a fantasy adventure epic, was being promoted as the most expensive Chinese movie ever made, but it has only brought in $7.1 million following its release in Friday.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, its social media accounts were closed last night, with a statement that the movie was being pulled from theatres at 10pm local time.

However, it may not be the last that we see of it.

Zhenjian Film, one of the movie’s producers, told Chinese news site Sina: “This decision was made not only because of the bad box office. We plan to make some changes to the film and release it again.”

The movie is based on ancient buddhist mythology, and stars Lei Wu, a Chinese teen heartthrob, in the lead role of a young boy who has to save the godly domain of Asura from a deadly coup.

It’s represents the directorial debut of Peng Zhang, a former stunt coordinator from the Rush Hour and Twilight movies.

It was hoped that it could be the first in a franchise of movies, akin to the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

But producers have also claimed that the movie has been the victim of fake negative reviews penned by ghostwriters that have flooded the internet in China.

The last significant Chinese action movie, Wolf Warrior 2, cost a fraction of Asura’s $100 million (around $30 million, according to reports), but made a staggering $874 million at the box office following its release last year.

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.

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