Shanghai Fortress, the most recent big-budget science-fiction film to come out from China has now officially crashed at the box office. The flopping of this movie is a big blow to the Chinese film industry which has been trying to ramp up its production values to compete with the heavy blockbusters of Hollywood.

The colossal success that ‘The Wandering Earth’ achieved earlier this year, earning in the vicinity of $ 700 million as well as rave reviews from different parts of the world, everyone had high hopes from ‘Shanghai Fortress’ to deliver the next big breakthrough for the Chinese sci-fi genre. With over 2 million people planning to visit Area 51 for alien spotting, it cannot be denied that there is heavy demand for such alien-themed films in all parts of the world, but not every movie can deliver.

Terrible performance at box office

Shanghai Fortress costed close to $ 57 million and was produced over 5 years’ time period. The story of the film had been adapted from a 2009 novel of the same name. It involves a bunch of youngsters hiding in Shanghai, which has become the last resort for human race fighting an alien invasion. The film stars Lu Han, the pop star turned actor and the well-known Taiwanese actress Shu Qi.

It had an initial good start at the Chinese box office, but the ticket sales dropped quickly once the negative reviews started coming in on social media platforms. The film earned a total of $ 11 million on its Friday release and crashed to a figure of $ 3 million on Saturday, followed by $ 1.7 million on Sunday, earning a total of $ 15.4 million over the weekend.

The film was rated a poor 3.3/10 on the popular Chinese film reviews website called Douban. Over half of 60,000 people that saw the film gave it only 1 star out of 5. The ticketing app Maoyan, whose scoring system is comparatively more generously weighted, showed a rating of 5.8/10 for the movie, easily the lowest of all the titles that have been released of late.

What went wrong?

A visit to the popular movie related forums revealed the complaints people had about the firm, including the substandard special effects, incoherence of the story, Lu Han’s weak performance and much more. It were the fans of the Shanghai Fortress novel who were most vocal about how the film proved to be a total disappointment for them.

Teng Huatao, the director of Shanghai Fortress responded to all the uproar through a heartfelt apology. Writing a post on social media portals he expressed his disappointment at how people are criticising the film stating that while ‘The Wandering Earth’ opened the doors for the Chinese science-fiction industry, Shanghai Fortress had closed them. He took responsibility for the crashing of the film and how he had not lived up to their expectations.

It should be noted that Shanghai Fortress was actually Teng Huatao’s first attempt at the sci-fi genre of films. He’s normally recognised for his popular romantic movies such as Love Is Not Blind (2011) and Up in the Wind (2013), both of which were major successes. So, clearly sci-fi was not his forte after all.