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  • Writer's pictureMaya Kirby

The Chinese Blockbuster Film You Can't Find Anywhere

Asura is a Chinese fantasy film that was released in 2018. With a jaw-dropping budget of 750 million yuan (equivalent to $113.5 million), it was set to be a trailblazer. Even before it reached cinemas, critics (and excited fans alike) hotly discussed Asura, and China News called it a "rival to any Hollywood blockbuster".

'Asura' comes from Buddhist mythology. Asuras are likened to titans or demigods, who exist in the realm of desire known as kāmadhātu. These demigods are addicted to emotions such as wrath, pride, and envy - similar to Christianity's seven deadly sins. They're often pictures with three heads,and four arms. Each head has its own separate personality.

The word 'Asura' may stem from 'sura', an alcoholic drink the asuras drank (before losing a battle and being cast from their lands). Asuras are jealous of others' pleasure, and some are evil and power-hungry. Is it just me, or do these Asuras sound like they'd make great villains?

So the 2018 film was bound to be a success. It boasted an award-winning cast, groundbreaking CGI, and fascinating mythology... So why haven't we heard or seen it in the West?

Despite the billions spent on its production, Asura was a flop at the box office. In its opening weekend, sales reached less than 50 million yuan (less than $7.3 million). There are only six reviews on IMDB. Some say it is "underrated", yet some say it was the "worst ever".

Sadly, you won't be able to make up your own mind about Asura: it was pulled from the box office after just three days. The production company Zhenjian Film later explained that they would re-release the film after making changes. Unfortunately, this never materialised. Asura seems to be unavailable on the Internet, even after lengthy searches.

With such an exciting concept, and the stellar cast, we can only hope Asura will be re-released soon.

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