Back during summer 2018, a film dubbed ‘China’s most expensive movie ever’ flopped at the Chinese box office. But do you know what that movie was?


Not a problem!

In this post, I am talking about this epic box office disaster. So, it doesn’t matter if you know what the film is or not, I am about to fill you in on all the details.


What is China’s biggest box office flop?

China’s biggest movie flop is a movie called Asura. The film is a fantasy adventure, written by Kirk Caouette and directed by Peng Zhang.


What is Asura?

According to Wikipedia, the premise of the film is as follows: “The story is set in Asura, the dimension of pure desire according to ancient Buddhist mythology. The mythical realm is threatened by a coup from a lower heavenly kingdom and the story follows from there.”


What happened to Asura when it was released in cinemas?

Asura opened in Chinese cinemas in July 2018. The film was heavily promoted, and both the studio and investors expected big things, but it struggled to find an audience and after three days it had only managed to make $7.4 million.

Now, $7.4 million might not sound too bad, but this was a huge shortfall from the movie’s budget – am eye-watering $113.5 million!

Yep, $113.5 million.

And due to Asura’s less-than impressive debut, the studio promptly pulled the movie from screens after those three days of release.


If Asura needed to make more money, what was the point of pulling it from cinemas?

According to the studio, Asura’s sudden disappearance from movie theatres was to try and help it secure an audience. The suggestion was, the film could be tweaked, then re-released to a much better reception.

A statement issued in 2018, confirmed this course of action by stating: “This decision was made not only because of the bad box office. We plan to make some changes to the film and release it again.”


Did the re-release help?

Well, here’s the thing: Asura didn’t get re-released. There were rumblings of the film returning to cinema screens during a quieter period in the release calendar, where it could potentially make a greater impact, but it didn’t happen.

What caused Asura to flop?

Poor reviews – including alleged fake reviews – were blamed for the Asura’s box office failure. But in short: Audiences didn’t turn up to watch the movie.


If Asura had been a box office hit, would there have been a sequel?

Asura was initially envisioned as the first entry in a trilogy; so, if the film had been a hit, two further movies would have followed. But of course, plans for a trilogy were pretty much dropped as soon as Asura opened in cinemas.

And now you know.


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