Helmer Jiang Wen’s Venice competition film “The Sun Also Rises” failed to raise much heat at the Chinese box office.
Pic grossed some RMB 14 million ($1.86 million) between its local bow on Sept. 17 and Wednesday, according to distributor PolyBona.
Figures would be quite impressive for an art-house title, but scarcely do credit to one of the most anticipated Chinese movies of the year. Pic’s $10 million budget makes it one of this year’s most expensive Chinese films.
Release — on 400 prints plus 200 digital prints — was worthy of a mainstream commercial pic.
A PolyBona spokesperson said the movie was taking in $133,000 a day, but Internet postings and commentaries on the pic show many viewers are finding it “complicated” and difficult to understand.
Jiang hit back at the criticism, telling one publication that if his partner could understand it, then so could others. Jiang stars in the film, with Joan Chen and Zhou Yun.
Pic is Jiang’s first since the end of a five-year ban for making “Devils on the Doorstep” without official permission.