’Shanghai Fortress’ collapses at box office
It was anticipated to be the top sci-fi film this summer, but Shanghai Fortress has flopped, triggering online debate about the future of Chinese sci-fi films.
Starring A-list actress Shu Qi and pop idol Lu Han, the movie opened on 33 percent of the country’s nearly 65,000 screens on Friday, knocking down the phenomenal hit Ne Zha to 27 percent that day.
But, a flood of negative reviews soon pulled Shanghai Fortress down from the top slot, with the screening rate shrinking to 14.4 percent by the next day.
On popular film review site Douban, a reference for many theatergoers, Shanghai Fortress also saw its score fall from 4.2 points out of 10 on its debut day to 3.2 points as of Wednesday.
Even worse news was that the film, which reportedly cost around 360 million yuan ($51.1 million) to make, has grossed just 116 million yuan by Wednesday.
Based on online feedback, the live box-office tracker Maoyan has estimated that the film’s final box office will not surpass 150 million yuan, indicating that its financers will suffer a big loss.
Among all of the unflattering reviews, one comment in particular sums up popular opinion, "While the door for Chinese sci-fi films to thrive was opened by The Wandering Earth, it is being closed by Shanghai Fortress."
Earlier this year, The Wandering Earth, a film based on the novella of the same name by Hugo Award-winning Chinese writer, Liu Cixin, smashed box-office records to rake in 4.66 billion yuan, making it China’s second highest-grossing film of all time and a game changer.
Shanghai Fortress’ director Teng Huatao, a veteran known for portraying urban romances in films, posted on Sina Weibo about being "upset" that "he had let down the audience".
"As the director, I have an inescapable responsibility ... But I still hope there is a future (production) and that Chinese sci-fi films become better," writes Teng.
A similar statement on Sina Weibo came from novelist, and the film’s scriptwriter, Yang Zhi, better known by his pseudonym Jiang Nan: "To those who don’t like the film, I am sorry that it didn’t live up to your expectations."
collapse v. 倒塌；倒下，昏倒；崩溃 n. 崩溃；倒塌
unflattering adj. 不吸引人的，不好看的；耿直的；有损形象的
novella n. 中篇小说；短篇故事
pseudonym n. 笔名；假名