First $100m Chinese blockbuster pulled from cinemas after disastrous flop

Producers have pulled the plug on the Chinese fantasy-epic movie "Asura", which cost over $US100 million to make, after it made just $US7 million in its opening weekend.

Producers hoped "Asura" would launch a successful franchise in a similar mold of the "Painted Skin" fantasy-action film series, which Zhenjian Film Studio and Ningxia Film Group co-produced, The Hollywood Reporter revealed. "We plan to make some changes to the film and release it again".

By Sunday, the film's official social media account posted a statement declaring that it would be removed from theatres as of 10pm that night.

On the film's official Weibo account (roughly China's version of Twitter), producers offered "deepest apologies to viewers who did not get a chance to watch the film, as well as to all the Chinese and worldwide participants who were involved in its production over the past six years".

Most of China's biggest blockbusters to date have been made with half the budget lavished on Asura.

Producers say that changes will be made and the movie will be released again.

Before its release, the film was showered with praise by state media, with the China Daily calling it the "most hotly anticipated blockbuster of China's competitive summer season".

"It's a very imaginative movie".

Asura's plot is based on Chinese mythology and featured leading actors and flashy special effects. "The film's costumes were designed by Oscar-winner Ngila Dickson (Lord of the Rings), while Hollywood veteran Martín Hernandez served as audio director (The Revenant, Birdman) and Charlie Iturriaga (Deadpool, Furious 7) supervised the VFX work", according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Alibaba Pictures, along with the investors Zhenjian Film Studio and Ningxia Film Group, chose to yank the movie, China's most expensive ever made, after it bombed over the weekend.

Yet the film garnered a rotten 3.1 rating on Douban, China's most influential user review platform.

On opening day, Asura netted an 8.4 rating out of 10 on Alibaba-owned Tao Piaopiao.

Sadly for everyone involved, it received awful reviews upon its release, with the rating site Douban giving it a score of just 1.5 stars out of 5.

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