American audiences went crazy over Crazy Rich Asians when it opened in August, but it seems Chinese moviegoers couldn't care less.
The romantic comedy from Warner Bros. finally opened in China this weekend and had a disastrous showing, taking in just $1.2 million, per Variety. For comparison, Sony's Venom made $111 million in its China debut, CNN points out.
Box office analysts have a few possible explanations for this shockingly low performance, including the fact that the film from Jon Chu is told very much from an American perspective, with a protagonist who grew up in the U.S. traveling to Singapore for a wedding and meeting her boyfriend's unexpectedly wealthy family. It also had the momentum of being the first major American film in decades with a cast consisting entirely of Asian actors. But all of this novelty was lost in China, where romantic-comedy smash hits are already more common than they are in the U.S. One other factor is that the Chinese debut came so late that the film was already released on home video and streaming platforms in other countries, meaning audiences there could illegally watch it online if they wanted to, per CNN.
Still, Crazy Rich Asians has seen more than enough success in the U.S. to make it a bona fide hit with or without China. It grossed $173 million domestically on a budget of just $30 million, a particularly impressive accomplishment considering it only opened to $26 million, per Box Office Mojo. It's one of the most successful romantic comedies ever released in the United States, and audiences can look forward to more, as a sequel is in the works. Brendan Morrow