You’ve seen After Earth, right? I didn’t think so. In fact, considering that the only actor you want to see in the film is a minor character, its director doesn’t have the greatest track record, and has obvious thematic references to Scientology, it’s no surprise that many Americans passed on it. For those of you keeping score at home, this is M. Night Shyamalan’s fifth consecutive bomb in the box-office. With such a low reception in the States, and every critic tearing it apart, After Earth’s only hope was its audiences overseas. Fortunately, it found a new home in China.
Perhaps due to Jaden Smith’s street cred in China for the Karate Kid remake, the Chinese moviegoers have already dropped over $30 million on the American sci-fi dud since it opened in their country on July 12. For nearly two weeks, After Earth has enjoyed the number one spot at the Chinese box office. Coming in second is a South Korean film about a gorilla that plays baseball, whereas third place goes to a Chinese adaptation of a film about a group of students who trap a spirit in a pen. Those words just happened. How a Shyamalan film beat out an ape that can throw a mean pitch and some kids who put a ghost in a writing implement is beyond me.
Despite being king of the cinematic hill for well over a week, it is expected that Shyamalan’s latest bomb will have to surrender its Chinese championship belt to another American flop. White House Down is set to make its run in China, where it has already secured 29% of film screenings in the country. Roland Emmerich’s latest, which is retitled “A Crisis Shocking to the Heavens” in China (no really), is estimated to have already raked in almost $4 million, and it’s only just started. If this information is indicative of a Chinese trend, it is that China is fond of American cinematic table scraps. In that case case, this summer should ensure that Chinese moviegoers will not go hungry.