Not too hot

Crazy Rich Asian flops in China.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Showbiz - By PATRICK FRATER

HOL­LY­WOOD sum­mer hit Crazy Rich Asians will be lucky to score more than US$1mil in its open­ing week­end in China.

Af­ter­noon ad­mis­sions last Fri­day had ranked the ro­man­tic com­edy in fourth place. But by Fri­day evening, it be­came ap­par­ent that main­stream Chi­nese au­di­ences’ in­ter­est was barely flick­er­ing for the movie, and on Satur­day, ex­hibitors be­gan ditch­ing it in favour of other ti­tles.

Although the film was a ground­break­ing hit in the United States be­cause of its al­lAsian cast, it has few stars of sig­nif­i­cance in China. Its re­lease in the Mid­dle King­dom also comes sev­eral months af­ter the rest of the world. As the ex­tent of the film’s dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance at the box of­fice be­came ap­par­ent, Chi­nese ex­hibitors re­acted quickly, slash­ing the num­ber of screen­ings per day about 32,000 on Fri­day to 18,700 on Satur­day.

Large num­bers of po­ten­tial main­land Chi­nese view­ers have al­ready seen Crazy Rich Asians abroad or pi­rated on­line by this point. Oth­ers have been baf­fled by how what they see as a film full of Asian stereo­types could be cel­e­brated as a coup for on-screen Asian rep­re­sen­ta­tion. “The plot is pass­able, the qual­ity of the pro­duc­tion is also fine, but I still wanted to vomit a bit,” one Chi­nese user wrote on ma­jor re­view plat­form Douban, where the film has a mid­dling 6.2 out of 10 rat­ing – mostly from peo­ple who saw the film months ago.

“So Chi­nese peo­ple in the eyes of Euro­peans and Amer­i­cans are just about clans, ex­trav­a­gant snob­bery, a blind sense of su­pe­ri­or­ity, and stub­bornly cling­ing to out­dated rules and ideas?”

An­other user dis­missed it by say­ing it pan­dered to hot-but­ton US is­sues of eth­nic iden­tity and in­clu­sion with­out de­pict­ing any­thing that felt recog­nis­ably Chi­nese to main­lan­ders: “Well, guess it keeps the Amer­i­cans watch­ing it happy.”

The film was re­leased in Au­gust in North Amer­ica and be­came a break­away hit that scored US$174mil. It also played strongly from Septem­ber re­leases in much of East Asia. – Reuters

Crazy Rich Asians didn’t quite make bank in China. — Hand­out

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