Starring Li Chengbin (Toby Lee) (李程彬) and Chen Duling (陳都靈) in the lead roles of demigod Bai Zihua and Flower or Hua Qiangyu respectively, a movie remake of hit fantasy wuxia drama The Journey of Flower <花千骨> has released to criticism and lackluster ratings!
Based on an original novel, the drama version produced by Ciwen Media starring Wallace Huo (霍建華) and Zanilia Zhao (趙麗穎) was China’s hottest drama of 2015 when it aired on Hunan TV nine years back, with viewers in praise of Wallace’s immortal vibes.
However, the film remake’s exceedingly poor performance – it took in less than 5.5 million yuan at the box office after four days, putting it way behind other films – even prompted director Charlie Zhang (張超理) to upload a tearful video asking cinema-goers for their support. “I was shocked to hear about the poor box office. At this moment, I feel deep remorse as I felt that I’ve let down our producers and their trust; I also feel sorry towards our production crew, that our four years of effort and hard work are lost,” he said.
Tearing up, he said, “Maybe many friends have not noticed that our movie is airing, or don’t have much hope about the movie, but what I want to say is that being among one of the first productions to resume filming in 2020 (following the pandemic lockdown), we had gone through too many obstacles and even hitting cinemas was incredibly tough, so I hope everyone could catch us at the cinemas, to lend us your kind support,”
Cast Performance Disappoints
With over billions of yuan pumped into the project, many netizens fear that it will not be able to recoup production costs. They pinned part of the blame on the cast members’ inadequate performance and in particular highlighted actress Chen Duling failed to fully capture her character’s characteristics nor aura, greatly detracting viewers from the story’s premise. Yet others pointed out the shabbiness of the props and costumes, which dampened viewers’ expectations for the movie