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Andy Lau's The Movie Emperor Pulled From China Cinemas Latest Movies News

by Stewart Cole

Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau's film The Movie Emperor has been blocked in China.

The satirical comedy, whose Chinese title translates to Mr Red Carpet, was suddenly pulled from cinemas there a week after it was released on February 10, the first day of Chinese New Year. Now showing in Singapore cinemas.

The announcement was made by the film's producer Huanxi Media Group (Shanghai) on social media on February 16, but no reason was given for the move.

“Thank you for your support of the film since its release,” the announcement on Weibo read. “After careful consideration by our team, The Movie Emperor will be withdrawn from the Spring Festival schedule and released on a new date.”

Directed by Chinese filmmaker Ning Hao, the film sees Lau play an A-list actor who craves the validation of his peers amid his waning popularity.

He contacts a Chinese director – known for his authentic and gritty filmmaking – to play a simple farmer in a film set in rural China.

To achieve the comeback role, the protagonist immerses himself in the lives of the villagers. However, his arrogance and vanity are immediately apparent to the locals and they do not take kindly to his presence.

According to Hong Kong media, The Movie Emperor faced competition from seven other films during the festive season in China and grossed only 83 million yuan (S$16 million) after eight days. It has a reported budget of 261 million yuan.

It was a far cry from the top-grossing film Yolo, which grossed more than 2.72 billion yuan in the same period. Yolo stars Chinese comedian Jia Ling as an overweight, unemployed woman whose life changes after she meets a boxing coach.

Some Chinese netizens attributed the poor viewing of The Movie Emperor to the film's screening times, which were mostly early in the morning or late at night, making it inconvenient for audiences, as well as drawing lukewarm reviews.

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