×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Flops at the Chinese Box Office

Hollywood summer hit “Crazy Rich Asians” will be lucky to score more than $1 million in its opening weekend in China.

Afternoon admissions 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 favor of other titles.

Estimates from local sources suggest only an eighth-place finish for “Crazy Rich Asians” over the weekend, with a performance far behind Chinese-made “A Cool Fish” and still-potent “Venom.” “Crazy Rich Asians“ earned about $410,000 on Friday and $400,000 on Saturday.

Although the film was a groundbreaking hit in the U.S. because of its all-Asian 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 “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 Sunday 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and Americans are just about clans, extravagant snobbery, a blind sense of superiority, and stubbornly clinging to outdated rules and ideas?”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 U.S. issues of ethnic identity and inclusion without depicting anything that felt recognizably 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 $174 million. It also played strongly from September releases in much of East Asia, including a $5 million haul in Singapore, where most of the film is set.

But after Warner Bros. struggled to have “Crazy Rich Asians” obtain a coveted revenue-sharing import slot for China, it was unclear whether the effort was going to be worth it. The studio’s ultra-lowball benchmarks – likening “Crazy Rich Asians” to “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”, which launched in China in August and earned $602,000, and Amy Schumer’s “I Feel Pretty,” which was released in September and earned $206,000 – turned out to be the right ones.

Still, getting a release in China was important from the producers’ point of view. They aim to shoot the sequel, “China Rich Girlfriend,” at least partly in Shanghai, and possibly as a co-production.

More Film

  • Chris Hemsworth Hulk Hogan

    Chris Hemsworth to Play Hulk Hogan in Biopic for Netflix

    Netflix is in the early stages of developing a Hulk Hogan biopic with Chris Hemsworth attached to star as the wrestling legend and produce. Netflix has obtained the exclusive life rights and consulting services from Terry Gene Bollea AKA Hulk Hogan. Todd Phillips, whose credits include “War Dogs” and “The Hangover” trilogy, is attached to [...]

  • Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant

    Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant Winners

    Swedish documentary filmmaker Anastasia Kirillova and “Negative Space” co-directors Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter are among the filmmakers who will receive grants from Rooftop Films to help complete their upcoming projects. Kirilova will be awarded $20,000 to finish her film, “In the Shadows of Love,” while collaborators Kuwahata and Porter will receive $10,000 for “Dandelion [...]

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

  • Leave No Trace

    Oscar Analysts Are Sincere -- but Often Totally Wrong

    With Oscars arriving Feb. 24, we can expect multiple “who will win/who should win” columns. There will also be a flurry of post-show analyses about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and why members voted the way they did. Since AMPAS never releases polls or voting tallies, these pundits will never be contradicted [...]

  • Green Book spiderman into the spider

    On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    We continue to live in a divided world, with the current political landscape in the United States a seemingly endless hotbed of tumult and acrimony. Issues of racism, bigotry, diversity and gender equality drive the creative players as well, with Oscar-nominated films parlaying said themes into compelling, thought-provoking cinema. To analyze 2018 in big-screen entertainment, [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • 'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: Early Reviews

    'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: 'The MCU Feels More Complete'

    “Captain Marvel” is soaring following advanced press screenings on Tuesday. Reactions from early showings have hit Twitter, and audiences are keen on Marvel’s first female-led standalone movie. Critics are praising Brie Larson’s performance as Carol Danvers, the nostalgic ’90s setting, and the cosmic sci-fi elements. Goose, Danvers’ cat, is also getting a lot of attention from [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content