Hollywood’s breakout diversity summer success story, Crazy Rich Asians, has bombed hard in China – scoring a paltry $810,000 opening across its two-day weekend.
Chinese exhibitors, who had fought a fierce bidding war for the film’s rights, swiftly altered course with the feature; brutally cutting the number of screenings from about 32,000 on Friday to 18,700 on Saturday.
Chinese estimations are putting the film, at best, at an eighth-place debut. Well behind local features, and even Venom, which opened weeks ago in the Middle Kingdom and is still doing big business for Sony. When all is said and done, it’ll be lucky to cross the $1 million mark across its three-day premiere.
The reasoning for such disparate responses in China and America appear to be two-fold; 1) an all-Asian cast participating in a romantic comedy is, in the US, a novel idea – in China, it’s the clichéd norm. And 2) for many Chinese audiences, the film is simply chockfull of unwelcome stereotypes. As one local viewer of Crazy Rich Asians wrote on Douban (the country’s version of IMDb): “The plot is passable, the quality of the production is also fine, but I still wanted to vomit a bit.
“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and Americans are just about clans, extravagant snobbery, a blind sense of superiority, and stubbornly clinging to outdated rules and ideas?”
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