Can China rescue 'ungodly flop'?
GODS Of Egypt, one of the latest box-office flops in North America, appears to be seeking a rebound in China, according to some industry watchers.
The US$140 million (S$190 million) fantasy epic, revolving around a brutal family feud among Egyptian deities, will open in Chinese mainland theatres today, around two weeks after its release in Australia and the United States.
The heavy-on-special-effects movie will be released in China in three forms: Imax 3D, Dmax and 4D.
After its disappointing US$14 million debut weekend in North America, most foreign reports called the big-budget production as "this year's first major box-office flop".
Despite its poor reception in English-speaking markets, some Chinese industry watchers predict it will get a better welcome in China, the world's second-largest movie market.
Zhang Zhiyuan, a Beijing-based box-office analyst, says Hollywood's big-budget action films have a stable and huge fan base in China.
"Although its scores on foreign review sites are mediocre, or even somewhat low, a big number of moviegoers may still buy the breathtaking spectacles and action - which are at a high level the domestic industry has yet to reach," he adds.
Besides, an annual quota that allows only 34 foreign movies for general release in China - based on a box office-sharing system - limits selection for locals, say Chinese film sources.
Local movie enthusiasts are "thirsty for Hollywood content", says Zheng Ye, production head of Shanghai-based studio Fundamental Films, which has close connections with European and North American markets.
Set in a milieu of ancient Egypt where gods and humans co-exist, the 127-minute film tells the story of a mortal hero assisting an Egyptian god to fight against his evil uncle to take back the throne.
The storyline and conspiracies are easily understood by Chinese viewers, whose history over thousands of years features royal conflicts, as some reviews say on Douban.com.
"The tale on the good-versus-evil stereotype is a bit boring but the colossal spectacles deserve to be watched on the big screen," Miao Luyong, a Beijing viewer, says after a Monday-night sneak preview in Beijing.
Gods Of Egypt's hopes for a second chance in China are not unprecedented.
The 2013 sci-fi adventure film Pacific Rim, which suffered a 52 per cent slump in its second week in North America, and 2014 robot sci-fi movie Transformers: Age Of Extinction, which received overwhelmingly negative reviews, both achieved commercial success in China.
CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK