China’s most expensive movie ever made lived just two days

Asura’s official Weibo page

After pouring about $112 million (750 million yuan) and six years of effort into making China’s most expensive movie ever, producers had expected it to bring in the moolah. But it was a flop.

Just two days after its release, producers had to pull fantasy epic Asura from theaters, the Hollywood Reporter reported Sunday. The decision was announced through a statement on Weibo, China’s wildly popular Twitter-like platform.

The film made just $7.1 million over its opening weekend, falling far short of expectations (the target was 3 billion yuan, or almost $450 million). It received a 35 percent rating by verified Weibo users with large follower bases at time of writing.

The move might not have been too surprising to many though. Movie reviewers on Weibo who managed to catch the film alleged that a lot of details were modelled after Avatar and Game of Thrones, with one noting that one village resembled Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings. The user, rating the film 1.5 stars, also criticised the storyline for being confusing and said he nearly dozed off.

“It’s a story that can be told in 90 minutes, but they had to drag it to 140 minutes,” he said.

It wasn’t all bad. Someone else was impressed with the thought put into crafting the human and non-human realms and hoped ticket sales for the film would perform better.

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