Photo Credit: Screen Rant
With the second largest film market in the world, China is often looked upon to bail out underperforming Hollywood films. One such unfortunate production, Warner Brothers’ Pan, did not fare so well with the Chinese market.
According to an article by The Hollywood Reporter yesterday, Pan opened in China last Thursday with a measly $740,000. The film debuted to even worse numbers in Chinese theaters than its domestic counterparts, where opening weekend was $15 million.
Now, a week later since its Chinese debut and almost three weeks since its opening day in the states, Pan has only managed to bring in approximately $94.1 million worldwide according to Box Office Mojo.
With a production budget of $150 million and another $125 million for marketing, ‘Pan’ is currently $180 million in the hole.
One explanation for the Chinese failure, posed by The Hollywood Reporter, is that the film just had too much competition. French animated feature ‘The Little Prince,’ debuted alongside Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man” the same weekend. All three, with ‘Pan’ included, are family friendly stories based in fantasy, which could have spread audiences too thin.
Other publications, such as Variety, blame poor word of mouth. Bad ratings by critics and audiences on social media and review sites like Rotten Tomatoes and China’s Douban, may have also contributed.
Whatever the reason, Warner Bros. needs a miracle to rescue the orphaned Pan. An Australian news site speculates that Pan may join the likes of some of the biggest flops of all time and is certainly one of the worst of 2015.
Unfortunately, its status may have even contributed to director Joe Wright losing his chance to direct the Lionsgate feature Emperor about Julius Caesar. In an exclusive published by The Wrap, Joe’s discussions with Lionsgate apparently dried up after Pan flopped.
Although China has a population of 1.3 billion, they only became the second largest film market in 2013. Previously, Japan held that spot until China’s economic boom increased spending at the box office.
Perhaps Pan still has a chance to warm audience’s hearts and recoup its losses as it premieres in Japan on Saturday October 31.