Most expensive Chinese movie "Flowers of War" flops spectacularly in the US

Discussion in 'China' started by Blackwater, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Christian Bale couldn't entice U.S. moviegoers to go see "Flowers of War," the most expensive movie in Chinese history, last weekend. Nor could director Zhang Yimou of "Hero" fame. :laugh::laugh::taunt1::taunt1::taunt1:

    "The Flowers of War," a dark and violent Chinese-language movie about the Rape of Nanking that cost more than $90 million to produce, grossed an anemic $48,558 in 30 U.S. locations last weekend. Its per-location average: A mere $1,619.

    "The Flowers of War" belly flop -- and the problems it has faced on the way to the U.S. market -- underscores the challenges Chinese movies can face in America.

    Also read: Hollywood's China Revolution: Smaller Is Better

    When it comes to attracting Stateside audiences, some Chinese movies, no matter how lavishly produced, get lost in translation.

    Set in China during the 1930s, "The Flowers of War" revolves around a mortician (Bale) who protects convent girls and prostitutes from the invading Japanese army.

    It has grossed nearly $100 million in China, making it one of the highest-grossing films in the country's history.

    That might sound impressive, but producer and China film-industry expert Rob Cain called it underwhelming for a movie with a production budget of that size. His company, Pacific Bridge Pictures, estimates the movie's China gross at $95 million, a few million short of "Aftershock."

    "They're going to need the picture to do $200 million in China to recoup that in China, and there's no way they're going to get that, so they need it to be a real international hit," he said.

    Zhang disagreed.

    "As long as the distribution work is done well, you can always make the money back in China," he told TheWrap through a translator. "China will be the largest market besides the U.S. in the next five years, so for me, I have the confidence to know that the market is going to be in play for my movie."

    Also read: Oscar's Foreign Entries: Steve Pond's Shortlist Predictions

    Jay Cohen, who is putting together a film finance fund with basketball star Yao Ming points out that the Chinese market is different than Hollywood, where the focus is firmly fixed on the bottom line.

    "They make movies for specific reasons," Cohen, head of independent film for Gersh, told TheWrap. "Sometimes, it's to introduce the culture of China to other markets, sometimes for cultural history. No one is going to lose money, but sometimes they do it for a sense of cultural pride."

    The U.S. rollout for "Flowers of War" has been marred by false stops and starts, not to mention negative reviews. Domestic distributor Wrekin Hill moved up the movie's U.S. theatrical release date from early March to last Friday, in the second U.S. date change for the film, which was China's Oscar entry for foreign language film and was a Golden Globe nominee.

    Heading into last weekend's 30-theater release, Wrekin Hill President and CEO Chris Ball insisted to TheWrap that date change had less to do with box office and Oscar prospects, but more about demand for the film.

    "It's absolutely nothing to do with the Academy or otherwise, it's just that we have a film people want to see," he said. As announced earlier this week, the film did not receive a nomination.

    But Ball did concede that the company had Oscar ambitions.

    He said Wrekin Hill originally wanted to give "The Flowers of War" a wide release in March "to allow a little more breathing space between the initial release, perhaps get some nominations and go from there after the Christmas rush."

    But then "The Flowers of War" grossed $90,000 when it was released in three U.S. cities in December for a qualifying run.

    Also read: Chinese Government: Christian Bale 'Should Be Embarrassed'

    The release-date conundrum was just the latest in a series of hang-ups for "The Flowers of War."

    In late November, New Pictures Film requested that the minimum ticket price be raised, prompting Chinese cinema circuits to threaten to boycott the movie. At the order of the film bureau of China's government-controlled State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television, a compromise was eventually reached.

    The following month, the Los Angeles Times published an interview with Bale in which the actor said he participated in the film because he wanted to collaborate with Yimou -- not that he specifically wanted to work in China.

    Bale's promotional efforts backfired when he visited China in December. After attempting to visit activist Chen Guangcheng, who was under house arrest, Bale was roughed up by police and scolded by the Chinese government.

    "If anyone should be embarrassed [by the incident], it's the relevant actor, not the Chinese side," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

    The movie faced the obvious challenge of trying to market a movie that features dialogue mostly spoken in Mandarin. The film is 145 minutes long, features a cast of mostly unknown actors and, according to some critics, is a pro-China propaganda film.

    New Pictures Film took steps to position the film for success in the U.S. Originally titled "Nanjing Heroes" and "13 Flowers of Nanjing," the film's name was changed in an effort to appeal to U.S. audiences. Also, a substantial portion of the script is in English -- 40 percent, according to the filmmakers.

    The original Wrekin Hill goal was to expand "The Flowers of War" into theaters located close to Chinese communities, after first trying to appeal to the arthouse crowd.

    Anna Chi, a Chinese writer/director who has written scripts for Miramax and John Woo, acknowledged the challenges. Although "Zhang has certain followers who will go see his movie regardless," she said, "for general audiences, I think it might be challenging, because of the length and the subject matter. It's a pretty hard movie to watch -- and I actually knew the story."

    For his part, Bale did not.

    "I had heard of the Rape of Nanking, but I didn't know much about it," he told TheWrap. "I knew Yimou's work, so they sent me the script and asked if I had an interest. And Yimou ... came over to visit, and we sat together, and I decided to do it."



    Chinese Blockbuster 'Flowers of War' Leaves U.S. Audiences Cold | Reuters
     
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  3. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Chini failed to copy plot again:taunt1::taunt1::taunt1:

    WHY don't they show this movie in pakistan. After all, Chinese is second official language of that country. and pakis hate like bollywood :laugh::laugh::rofl::rofl:
     
    panduranghari and paras like this.
  4. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    I am watching it now, it is typical oversenationalism. The first scene, rather funny is a squad of Chicoms running in a line towards a tank. They get mowed down one by one until the last man rolls under the tank and blows himself up. ::laugh:
     
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  5. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Then a couple dozen prostitutes run to the monastery where Christian Bale is hiding and they worship the ground he walks on. :laugh:
     
  6. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    self Delete

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  7. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Injured Chinese soldiers enters convent and prostitutes treat them like cowards. :laugh:
     
  8. niceguy2011

    niceguy2011 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Confirm u are a white people , if u r not a coward.
     
  9. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Convent kids won't let the hookers use the bathroom... too unholy. :rofl:
     
  10. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    According to this film I have to be drunk Christian Bale getting knocked to the ground by bigot Chinese coward soldier. :laugh:
     
  11. niceguy2011

    niceguy2011 Tihar Jail Banned

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    don't be a coward. Say " I am a white person!"
     
  12. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Haha, Jap soldier pissing on the floor lands on head of prostitute hiding in cellar. :rofls:
     
    Godless-Kafir likes this.
  13. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Lt. Lt.... there are virgins here! Girls Girls! :laugh:
     
  14. niceguy2011

    niceguy2011 Tihar Jail Banned

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    U cannt say u are white? Mr "Franch" guy.

    I can smell curry from u. LOL
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  15. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Come on, no way you can make sniper shot through stained glass windows.
     
  16. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    I am as white as snow dipshit.
     
  17. niceguy2011

    niceguy2011 Tihar Jail Banned

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    So, r u a white person or not?
     
  18. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    How many bullets does it take to kill Chinese soldier? At least a dozen in the movies. :laugh:
     
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  19. niceguy2011

    niceguy2011 Tihar Jail Banned

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    For u should be no problem. U have great imagination.
     
  20. niceguy2011

    niceguy2011 Tihar Jail Banned

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    Answer my question, coward.
    Just say "yes " or "no"
     
  21. niharjhatn

    niharjhatn Regular Member

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    Well, there has been some excellent Chinese movies in the past. I am (was?) a big fan of the Hong Kong action scene of the 80's, and even some of the movies produced in the last decade, such as Hero and Red Cliff have been decent.

    IMO they should have stuck with movies like that rather than the forced inclusion of Bale in what can only be described as... "weird" :D
     

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