China offers hope for an ungodlyHollywood flop
Gods of Egypt, one of the latest box-office flops in North America, appears to be seeking a rebound in China, according to some industry watchers.
The $140 million fantasy epic, revolving around a brutal family feud among Egyptian deities, will open in Chinese mainland theaters on Friday, around two weeks after its release in Australia and the United States.
The heavy-on-special-effects movie will be released here in three forms: Imax3-D, Dmax and 4-D.
After its disappointing $14 million debut weekend in North America, most foreign reports called the big-budget production as “this year’s first major box-office flop”.
Despite its poor reception in English-speaking markets, some Chinese industry watchers predict it will get a better welcome in China, the world’s second-largest movie market.
Zhang Zhiyuan, a Beijingbased box-office analyst, says Hollywood’s big-budget action films have a stable and huge fan base in China.
“Although its scores on foreign review sites are mediocre, or even somewhat low, a big numberofmoviegoersmay still buy the breathtaking spectaclesandaction— whichare at a high level the domestic industry has yet to reach,” he says.
Besides, an annual quota that allows only 34 foreign movies for general release in China— based on a box officesharing system — limits selection for locals, say Chinese film sources.
From the Spring Festival’s holiday season to the slow month of March, Chinese screens have been dominated by domestic titles, except for Disney’s Zootopia.
Local movie enthusiasts are “thirsty for Hollywood content”, says Zheng Ye, production head of the Shanghaibased studio Fundamental Films, which has close connections with European and
hit, North American markets.
Set in a milieu of ancient Egypt where gods and humans coexist, the 127-minute Gods of Egypt tells the story of amortal hero assisting an Egyptian god to fight against his evil uncle to take back the throne.
The storyline and conspiracies are easily understood by Chinese viewers, whose history over thousands of years features numerous royal conflicts, as some reviews say on Douban.com.
“The tale — still revolving on the good-versus-evil stereotype — is a bit boring, but the colossal spectacles deserve to be watched on the big screen,” Miao Luyong, a Beijing viewer, says after the Monday night sneak preview in downtown Beijing.
Gods of Egypt’s hopes for a second chance in China are not unprecedented.
The 2013 sci-fi adventure film Pacific Rim, which suffered a 52 percent slump in its second week in North America, and the 2014 robot sci-fi movie Transformers: Age of Extinction, which received overwhelmingly negative reviews there, both achieved commercial success in China.