Beijing, China’s big-budget fantasy epic Asura

has been pulled from cinemas after a dismal opening weekend.

The 750m yuan ($112m; Pound 85m) film reportedly made less than

50m yuan on its weekend debut.

Asura’s plot is based on Chinese mythology and featured

leading actors and flashy special effects.

Producers are reportedly planning to rework the movie and release it

again at a later date.

Unless the film achieves much greater success the second time

round, Asura’s $105m loss would make it one of the biggest flops in

movie history.

The elaborate fantasy film was backed by some of China’s major

movie companies: Alibaba Pictures, Zhenjian Film Studio and Ningxia

Film Group Loosely based on Buddhist mythology, the movie tells the

story of a shepherd protecting a mythical heavenly realm from attack.

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”.

During the three days, it was showing in cinemas though, it

received an abysmal rating on Chinese film review site Douban.

With China overtaking the US as the world’s biggest film market,

the plan for Asura was to kick off a major fantasy franchise akin to Lord

of the Rings or Game of Thrones.

In the run-up to its opening weekend, financer Ningxia said they

“wanted the film to raise confidence in our own culture and train more

domestic talent”.

Producers have reportedly suggested the poor box office

showing was only part of the reason why the movie was pulled, and

that Asura would be reworked and released again.

While Chinese film productions have not typically had the same

international reach as Hollywood films, there have been several

China-Hollywood co-productions in recent years.

One of the most high-profile was The Great Wall, which cost

$150m although it too disappointed at the box office, the BBC reported.

Source: Oman News Agency