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Ali Baba's big bet to take on Hollywood's summer blockbusters has flopped. At a reported budget of $100 million, Asura was being billed by the tech giant as one of China's biggest budget movies. But Ali Baba Pictures said the movie was pulled from theaters after Sunday night. And apologized to viewers who wouldn't be able to see the movie after it spent six years in the making and only brought in $7 million.
It's the latest home grown disappointment for China's film industry.
50 million The Great Wall starred Matt Damon and was a co-production with Universal Pictures. It also failed to soar at the box office. China is on track to overtake the North American movie market and it's become a critical place for global producers looking to pump up their returns at the box office.
However, films like Asura may be cautionary tales for what local audiences really want. As the fantasy film flopped, Box Office reports showed another local movie was a surprise hit at a cost of only $15 million. Dying to Survive is the real life story of a Chinese cancer patient, arrested for importing drugs from India.
Think Dallas Buyers Club but in the city of Wuxi. Its returns could have paid for Asura several times over clocking a blowout success at $350 million in sales.