Asia Minute: “Crazy Rich Asians” Stumbles in China

Dec 4, 2018

Constance Wu, Gemma Chan and Henry Golding play a game during their press tour of "Crazy Rich Asians"
Credit MTV International / Wikimedia Commons

One of the biggest U.S. movie hits of the summer is turning out to be a flop in China. “Crazy Rich Asians” opened this past weekend — and the box office was disappointing.

“Crazy Rich Asians” has grossed nearly a quarter of a billion dollars around the world. According to Box Office Mojo, that’s the biggest global take for a romantic comedy in a decade — back to the first “Sex and the City” movie.

But China is not going to be helping those numbers very much.

“Crazy Rich Asians” opened in North America on August 15th — within ten days it had hit movie screens in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In mainland China, it just opened this past weekend.

Government censors had to sign off on the picture — some had wondered if it would face official trouble.

But no, this seems to be more of a democratic decision at the box office. It’s getting poor reviews in China and turning out to be just not that popular — a nationwide gross of less than 1.2 million dollars over the weekend.

That compares to a recent 111-million dollar opening weekend take for Sony Pictures’ China release of “Venom” – an action movie based on a Marvel comic book.

Credit hashi photo / Wikimedia Commons

The South China Morning Post did a quick survey of Chinese social media sites — finding criticism of “Crazy Rich Asians” as “bland” with a clichéd plot.

One post noted the title itself is a bit of an issue – suggesting that a Chinese-made film could have a stronger box office with a title like “Crazy Westerners” or perhaps “Stupid Americans.”