At $113.5 mn, China’s most expensive movie ‘Asura’ becomes an epic flop. With a US$113 million budget, the most expensive Chinese film ever made has become a flop of historic proportions, pulled from theatres on its opening weekend after bringing in a paltry US$7.3 million.
Alibaba Pictures’ special effects-heavy fantasy film “Asura” was intended as the first instalment in an epic trilogy inspired by Tibetan Buddhist mythology, part of a drive by authorities to promote works bearing elements of traditional Chinese culture.
The film cost 750 million yuan ($113.5 million) to make, state media said, and opened on Friday, but Chinese ticketing platform Maoyan said it only took in just over $7.3 million at the weekend.
By Sunday, the film’s official social media account posted a statement declaring that it would be removed from theatres as of 10pm that night.
“We express our apologies to all those who wanted to but won’t have the chance to see it,” it said.
Most of China’s biggest blockbusters to date have been made with half the budget lavished on Asura.
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The estimated loss of US$106 million would make it the fifth-biggest flop in movie history worldwide, behind frontrunner Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas which suffered losses of US$125 million, according to data from website Box Office Mojo.
State media had touted the movie before it was released, with the China Daily hailing Asura as “the most hotly anticipated blockbuster of China’s competitive summer season.”
“It’s a very imaginative movie. We wanted the film to raise confidence in our own culture and train more domestic talent,” Yang Hongtao, chairman of Ningxia Film Group, one of the movie’s backers, told the paper ahead of Friday’s opening.
Director : Zhang Peng