Hollywood keeps striking out at the Chinese box office, with Disney’s Jungle Cruise becoming the latest blockbuster to bomb with Chinese audiences.
Along with Paramount’s Snake Eyes and Disney-Pixar’s Luca, Hollywood flops are piling up in China, even as the major studios continue to subjugate themselves to the Chinese Communist Party in the hopes of landing one of a dwindling number of foreign release slots.
Disney’s Jungle Cruise brought in just $3.3 million on its opening weekend in China, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The release comes more than three months after the family-friendly movie opened in U.S. cinemas and on the Disney+ streaming service.
The movie, starring Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, has so far grossed close to $214 million worldwide on a reported budget of about $200 million. Disney hasn’t reported how many people have streamed the movie through Disney+, but the studio has reportedly committed to a sequel.
China has increasingly become a graveyard for Hollywood blockbusters as local audiences continue to gravitate toward domestic releases.
Other recent disappointments include Paramount’s Snake Eyes, Disney-Pixar’s animated Luca, Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984, and Disney’s animated Raya and the Last Dragon.
Perhaps more disconcerting to Hollywood executives is the number of blockbusters that China has denied a release. Disney-Marvel’s Black Widow and The Eternals still have no Chinese release dates. Warner Bros.’ Space Jam sequel, starring China-panderer LeBron James, has also been denied a Chinese release.
Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings also has not received a release date in China, despite having been produced with an eye to the Chinese market with a predominantly Chinese and Chinese-American cast.
China is reducing the number of foreign movies it releases as Communist leaders seeks to bolster the domestic industry. The Chinese box office became the largest movie market in the world last year, surpassing the U.S. for the first time, due in large part to the coronavirus pandemic.
This year’s top-grossing movies worldwide are both from China — the Korean War epic The Battle at Lake Changjin and the time-traveling comedy Hi, Mom.