Trying to make a successful Hollywood-style blockbuster is hard work, even if you spend more than $200 million doing it.
A Chinese billionaire has learned that lesson the hard way. After committing roughly 20% of his personal fortune to make Empires of the Deep, a cross between Avatar and Pirates of the Caribbean, Jon Jiang has nothing to show for his investment aside from critics’ laughter, CelebrityNetWorth notes.
Originally budgeted at $50 million, the movie took three years to make, missing an expected 2011 release date as production costs soared to $208 million. That made it the most expense Chinese-made movie to date. Jiang, despite having no movie-making experience, served as executive producer.
After previewing trailers for the new film in Chinese theaters, critics uniformly slammed the amateurish special effects, with one calling the film a “crappy underwater Avatar.”
Of course, Hollywood doesn’t always produce a hit, even when it spends $200 million. Disney (NYSE:DIS) proved that with John Carter earlier this year. And Comcast‘s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Universal Studios reinforced the lesson with Battleship. U.S. audiences sank both big-budget blockbusters at the box office.