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Daily Drip

Has China’s Most Expensive Ever Film Become its Biggest Ever Flop?

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After touting its estimated 100 million USD budget, Chinese fantasy epic Asura was pulled from cinemas late on Sunday night having taken just 7 million USD from an especially weak opening weekend amid China’s summer blockbuster season.

The official line, according to a statement by the film’s producers obtained by Sina, is that the movie has been “temporarily halted”, with some talk that it may return to cinemas after “alterations”. The film has been picking up terrible reviews on Maoyan — one of China’s main ticket buying portals — and other cinema sites, something which the producers have reportedly alleged is down to a concerted campaign involving fake users.

Asura‘s landing page on Sina

Producers behind the fantasy epic, which took six years to make and is supposed to be the opening salvo in a special effects-laden trilogy, apparently blamed an “unfair environment” for its poor performance at the box office, with suggestions that many of the scathing reviews were not genuine.

Starring Wu Lei, Tony Leung Ka Fai, Carina Lau, and Zhang Yishang, Asura launched the same day as Jiang Wen’s Hidden Man and amid the continued box office success of Dying to Survive.

Jiang’s follow up to Let the Bullets Fly and Gone with the Bullets, meanwhile, has created a stir on Weibo after user Aiyuweiya revealed apparently cut scenes from Hidden Man featuring disgraced former Hollywood star Kevin Spacey:

“I’m wanted by the FBI”

“I’m here only for the money”

We’ll leave you with the trailer for Asura, which might be the most we ever see of it now:

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Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for publications such as South China Morning Post and the Financial Times.

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