Five Reasons ‘The Farewell’ Flopped In China

Variety | 1/11/2020 | Rebecca Davis
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“The Farewell” has flopped in China with a dismal $261,000 opening weekend gross, and a cumulative of $580,000 so far, once again proving the difficulty of creating content that resonates equally on both sides of the Pacific — even when a story is set in China, features Chinese talent, and unfolds primarily in Mandarin.

Although the film was distributed directly by Maoyan, one of China’s two top online ticketing platforms, the critical darling made a paltry $78,000 on opening day Jan. 11, 2020, accounting for just 1% of the country’s total screenings. Shows were on average only 0.5% occupied, the firm’s own data showed. And opening day was its best day. Percentages of daily total screenings dropped even further since. As it entered its second weekend “The Farewell” had dropped to a dismal 25th at the box office. In another week, it will be utterly swallowed by a swarm of big local blockbusters coming out for Chinese New Year.

People - China - Film - Bit - Producer

“Only like 70,000 people in all of China have seen our film. It’s a bit ridiculous,” lamented the China-side producer Jane Zheng.

Actor Tzi Ma, who plays Awkwafina’s father in the film, likely echoed the thoughts of much of Hollywood when he told Variety he was “really surprised” at the outcome. “I was almost assuming that they wouldn’t even see this as a foreign film. Really, there’s only two Americans cast in the entire thing.” In a country where kids are often raised by their grandparents, he expected it to “hit home a lot more (in China) than anywhere else.”

Failure - Film - Case - Studies - Hollywood

The failure to do so makes the film one of the most interesting case studies of Asian Hollywood content’s crossover potential since 2018’s “Crazy Rich Asians.” That rom-com made $238 million globally and was hailed as a milestone for Asian American representation in the U.S....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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