Andy Lau’s film 'The Movie Emperor' pulled from cinemas in China


Andy Lau (right) plays a dissatisfied A-list actor who yearns for the validation of his peers in the satirical comedy 'The Movie Emperor'. Photo: Handout

Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau’s film The Movie Emperor has hit a road block in China.

The satirical comedy, whose Chinese title translates to Mr Red Carpet, was pulled suddenly from cinemas there, a week after it was released on Feb 10, the first day of Chinese New Year. It is now showing in Singapore and Malaysian cinemas.

The announcement was made by the film’s producer Huanxi Media Group (Shanghai) on social media on Feb 16, but no reason was given for the move.

“Thank you for your support of the film since its release,” read the announcement on Weibo. “After careful consideration by our team, The Movie Emperor will be withdrawn from the Spring Festival schedule and be released on a new date.”

Directed by Chinese filmmaker Ning Hao, the movie sees Lau playing an A-list actor who yearns for the validation of his peers amid his declining popularity.

He contacts a Chinese director – known for his authentic and gritty filmmaking – to portray an ordinary farmer in a film set in the countryside in China.

To succeed in his comeback role, the leading man immerses himself in the lives of the villagers. However, his arrogance and vanity are immediately evident to the locals, and they do not take kindly to his presence.

According to the Hong Kong media, The Movie Emperor faced competition from seven other films during the festive period in China and grossed only 83 million yuan (RM55mil) after eight days. It has a reported budget of 261 million yuan (RM173mil).

It was a far cry from the box-office takings of the top movie Yolo, which grossed more than 2.72 billion yuan (RM1.8bil) in the same period. Yolo stars Chinese comedienne Jia Ling, who plays an overweight, unemployed woman whose life changes after she meets a boxing coach.

Some Chinese netizens attributed The Movie Emperor’s poor showing to the movie’s screening times, which were mainly early in the morning or late at night, making it inconvenient for audiences, as well as spurring lukewarm reviews. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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