Chinese product placements, superfluous scenes with Fan Bingbing, inflated ticket prices… what did all of that get Iron Man 3′s much anticipated debut in China this week?
Only every record in the books. “Disney is confirming that Iron Man 3 broke every opening day record in China’s box office,” according to BoxOffice.com. “The official figure is currently $18,657,142 but it is expected rise to $21.5 million after all cinemas conclude their reporting.”
But is it actually good? Reaction has been… mixed.
“I just want to see Robert,” Stephen Qin, 25, told Los Angeles Times, referring to Robert Downey Jr. Ma Xinping, 22, adds, “It was just so-so.”
And more from LAT:
However, the sprinkling of Chinese near the opening and a little bonus footage with Fan at the end did nothing for moviegoers such as Gloria Zhang.
“It’s not necessary,” said the 26-year-old, who paid nearly $20 to watch the 3-D film at a multiplex theater in Beijing’s Sanlitun area. Zhang said she goes to the movies twice a month.
“This whole production is an insult to the intelligence of the Chinese audience perpetrated by the ridiculous co-production regulations set out by SARFT,” Kotaku’s Eric Jou told James Griffiths over IM.
And as Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft writes: “M’kay.”
Of course, it’s unfair for the LA Times or any of us to cherry-pick quotes. Maybe you should judge by yourself. Here’s how the film opened, according to Hollywood Reporter:
As the houselights dimmed in cinemas across mainland China at around midnight on Tuesday, audiences attending the first wave of public screenings of Iron Man 3 fell silent with apprehension as a question appeared on screen: “What does Iron Man rely on to revitalize his energy?”
After a three-second blackout, three big Chinese characters appeared onscreen: “Gu Li Duo.”
Of course, the movie itslf might be okay. But the special treatment Hollywood is giving China, as if Chinese filmgoers are too naive to judge quality? It’s insanely stupid, and reeks of orientalism.
We’re happy to see Chinese bloggers pushing back. Hopefully they’ll exercise their distaste in another important way: choosing to watch pirated DVDs and online streams instead of buying cinema tickets.