John Woo Defends “The Crossing” Against Criticism and Poor Box Office

By on December 15, 2014 in Movies

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Director John Woo‘s (吳宇森) The Crossing: Part 1 <太平輪 (上) > has unfortunately failed to live up to its buzz. Helmed by a star-studded cast, including Zhang Ziyi (章子怡) and Takeshi Kaneshiro (金城武),the film was released in Mainland China on December 2. Reception at the box office and among critics have been lukewarm at best.

Viewers Lack Appreciation for Art Films

In response, John Woo argued that the mediocre reception was due to the film’s inappropriate release schedule and inadequate publicity. As for The Crossing‘s lackluster box office sales, Woo pointed out that viewers generally prefer comedies and lack appreciation for art films.

Woo emphasized that he would not be changing his filming style to suit the tastes of the mass market, “We started working on The Crossing three to four years ago, but halfway through I fell ill and did not keep a close watch on the tastes and trends of the mass market. I merely continued to work on the film, only to later realize that the audience now prefers watching comedies. However, I kept the film as it was and sent it for release. We need to cultivate the audience’s appreciation for art films, as their impatience has resulted in the failure of many good art films. I will not change my creative style; I will not attempt to explain in three seconds something that requires three minutes.”

John Woo Believes Second Installment Will Generate Better Reception

Critics were mainly unhappy that The Crossing was released in two parts, with the second installment slated for a May 1, 2015 release. The first part of the movie spent a disproportionate amount of time painting the civil war context, resulting in insufficient screen time for the sinking of the “Taiping” steamer, which was the highlight of the film. Viewers were also unhappy that the love stories were kept separate and thus appeared incoherent.

Woo said, “Many people may mistakenly think that this film is similar to Titanic, when it is completely different. The Crossing focuses on war and its impact on the couples’ love stories. Their fates will then change when they board the ship.” He added that the complicated story required time to set the atmosphere appropriately, and that the second installment would receive a warmer response from the audience.

Source: Sina.com

This article is written by Jingles for JayneStars.com.

25 comments to John Woo Defends “The Crossing” Against Criticism and Poor Box Office

  1. Little fishy says:

    Two parts movie… >_> I don’t have much appreciation for multiple parts movie, you can argue that it’s for details, but most of the time, it’s for money >_> hollywood has never done a war related movies in parts, so you can see why this one fails. Titanic was a long movie, can’t see why this one doesn’t follow suit. More so that If it’s a complicated story, the last thing you want to do is cut it in half, most of time, ppl dont remember much about the details but the main storyline when seeing the later parts. Also, you can’t blame it on “audience prefer comedy”, good comedy will always appreciated, but good movie will always leave long lasting impression despite its genre.
    This dude should own up to bad decision making for splitting the movie in 2 parts >_>

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    • Terminator replied:

      “hollywood has never done a war related movies in parts”

      I guess you have never heard of the Star War saga.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Star TRek as well.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        AND LOTR AND THE HOBBIT! All technically war movies.

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      • Little fishy replied:

        Those are not real war, omg. It’s more action movies… If you can’t distinguish between fantasy style and realistic war, you are missing the point. Seriously funn, I would thought you are smarter than this >_>

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      • Little fishy replied:

        Here is what I mean, hollywood don’t make real war movies in parts! Fantasy war (sci-fi like star war and star trek or mythical style like lotr) movies are generally actions movies, with fantasy characters and lore that keep the movie interesting. This movie is trying to be realistic, not fantasy style.

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      • Tess replied:

        Star Wars and Star Trek are sci-fi movies.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        Tell it to LOTR fans and star trek fans who can chart an entire “history” from the books. Yes they’re fantasy but the “war” is in a way reflect the author’s experience perhaps during WWII and such. And despite the fantasy characters, whatever depicted is rather real don’t you think?

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        I am talking about LOTR by the way, not star trek.

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      • Little fishy replied:

        Again, it might have elements of war, however it’s not about war, nor the focal point. LOTR is about an epic quest, having multiple friends who like LOTR enough to have hrs of discussions with avid fans, none of them think LOTR is a war movie, the best comment they can come up with was ‘it does a pretty bad job at being a war movie”.

        None the less, what I was saying is for a realistic war movie, it’s not wise to split it into parts. Any of your example has more elements than just war related for them to be interesting, and hence much better at box office success. If you strip LOTR off its lore and fantasy characters, I’m sure it will not have the same success. Haven’t seen Star Trek movies, but to me, it strikes more as actions than war. Don’t know how many times I need to emphasis the difference between these and the article’s movie, anyone could see they are different genre, as plain as day -.-

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      • rloeun1 replied:

        I am married to a Trekkie, and my husband would consider Star Trek a sci-fi genre, not war.

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  2. Tess says:

    Maybe it’s the timing of the release of the film. Most of the time during year end are mostly happy blockbuster movies. Artistic movies as such might be a little too difficult to digest during celebratory season. Just my opinion.

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  3. Funn Lim says:

    Maybe there is very little entertaining value in this sort of art films considering viewers have watched Titanic?

    Or maybe ask Ang Lee, maybe he can give an answer but then Life Of Pi was an amazing film. Interstellar is a deep film, got box office. Oh in CHina and HK?Well… maybe the cast is not attractive?

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      “Woo said, “Many people may mistakenly think that this film is similar to Titanic, when it is completely different. The Crossing focuses on war and its impact on the couples’ love stories. Their fates will then change when they board the ship.” He added that the complicated story required time to set the atmosphere appropriately, and that the second installment would receive a warmer response from the audience.”

      Maybe people are tired of bleak movies?

      And a clue; if the first isn’t doing well, why watch the 2nd?

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    • advisory replied:

      Artistic movies can do well at the box office too. Just ask Wong Kar Wai. Not only at box offices but win hordes and accolades of international awards.

      John Woo, don’t blame or shift focus on the audience so-called shifting tastes.

      ‘In the Mood for Love’ and ‘The Grandmaster’ are great movies, and they are art films.

      Woo, please do another ‘Mission Impossible or ‘Face Off’ or You’ll get your creativity back in no time.

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      • Funn Lim replied:

        I am not quite sure Wong Kar Wai movies ever earn great at the box office. Do they?

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    • msxie replied:

      The mistake was touting this as a Chinese version of Titanic, leading to failed expectations. The biggest moviegoers in China are in the under 30 age range and they have different tastes. In Taiwan however, the film was the top box office draw.

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    • Nara replied:

      Wong Jing movies do very well in China so go figure.

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  4. Ang vs Woo says:

    John Woo should just stick to action movies, and to Hollywood.

    He has already ‘failed’ on the 2-part movie ‘Romance of the 3 kingdoms’ and now this. He has also ‘failed’ in all the movies he made in China

    Somehow, he can’t read the Chinese mindset and taste.

    Leave the art films to the master, Ang lee. You can’t be like him, and he can’t be like Woo too. Ang Lee also did not achieve success for the action genre ‘Incredible hulk’

    Do what you do best, no point trying to cross over the other line.

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    • Funn Lim replied:

      But Ang Lee’s Hulk was rather entertaining.

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      • Ang vs Woo replied:

        Nope, Hulk was boring… the human touch just does not work there.

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    • msxie replied:

      Red Cliff was a huge success throughout Asia; especially in Japan where it was the biggest hit.

      There’s a reason why all the HK film makers who went to Hollywood all returned in a matter of time.

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      • Ang vs Woo replied:

        The reason is because these HK directors found the China market more lucrative than Hollywood can offer, and they also have much leeway in creative license as far the even able to call the shots in making their dream movies and dream themes.

        In Hollywood, they only get dictated by the film studios. John Woo cannot say he prefers someone else over Tom Cruise to be lead actor etc.

        And the last Transformer, filmed in HK with the single minded purpose to tap the Chinese market, is still shot through the usual similar western lens,

        They showed HK in its sleazy side, they preferred the seedy dirty streets of Mongkok and not Causeway Bay or Admiralty, they like old run-down lifts instead of the modern, sleek, glass covered ones, and they portrayed the ordinary Chinese character as silent, sullen and stoic, which if cast for a caucasian will be seen as ‘cool’ but for a Chinese, they look like dead wood.

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    • Nara replied:

      Red Cliff was amazing how dare you.

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  5. P says:

    Why couldn’t he have included other types of relationships like parent and child, grandpa and grandchild instead of having three lovey dovey relationships? I didn’t even like Titanic and the only reason I would’ve watched this is because I like some of the actors/actresses.

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