Crazy Rich Asians underwhelms at Chinese box office

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Crazy Rich Asians underwhelms at Chinese box office

Image copyright Warner Bros
Image caption Constance Wu plays Crazy Rich Asians' American-born heroine

Crazy Rich Asians might have been a big hit at western box offices this year – but Chinese audiences clearly don't feel the same way about the film.

The Hollywood blockbuster featuring an all-Asian cast failed to ignite the Chinese box office, limping in at number eight on its debut.

It was released four months after its US release, taking just $1.1 million (£857,000) in its first three days.

The film has so far made around $238 million (£185.8 million) worldwide.

Eyebrows may be raised at the fact Crazy Rich Asians has flopped in the most populous Asian nation.

But it's probably not that much of a surprise.

  • Crazy Rich Asians tops US box office
  • The film burdened with 'crazy' Asian expectations
  • Crazy Rich Asians puts the spotlight on region's inequalities

Being released so long after the film came out in other big territories meant the hype and publicity had all but died down.

Image copyright Warner Bros
Image caption The film features a super-rich family based in Singapore

The delayed release isn't particularly unusual for the Chinese market – films have to go through a censorship process and there is a quota for foreign films, with a limit of 34 movie imports a year.

But another big factor is that all-Asian casts are not as much a novelty in China as they are for the western market.

The ostentatious wealth displayed in Crazy Rich Asians may also have caused a problem at a time when the Chinese film industry is reducing star salaries and probing alleged tax evasion.

Comic book blockbuster Aquaman opens this week in China and is expected to fare better.

Crazy Rich Asians was the first major Hollywood film since The Joy Luck Club 25 years ago to feature an all-Asian cast.

Adapted from Kevin Kwan's bestseller, it tells the story of an Asian-American woman who gets a culture shock meeting her boyfriend's ultra-wealthy family in Singapore.

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