Released in mid-May in the Middle Kingdom, the latest installment of the saga made a sensational entry at the box office… before being brutally abandoned by the public with an 85% drop in attendance last week.
Are the Chinese boycotting Fast and Furious 9 ? Released since mid-May in theaters of the country with 1.4 billion inhabitants, the film directed by Justin Lin conquered the spectators during the first weekend of diffusion, reaching the 148 million dollars collected. But the following week, patatra: the feature film only garners 20.8 million, a drop of 85% according to the American magazine The Hollywood Reporter .
In a country where social distancing is attenuated and where criticism, although bad as the Konbini media reminds us, has not dissuaded the first spectators, this significant drop in attendance raises questions. Especially since the film competition is not remarkable.
This sudden disenchantment could be explained by the comments made by John Cena – who plays the new villain of the last episode of the saga – during the promotion of the film. During a meet and greet with fans in Taiwan earlier this month, the wrestler-turned-actor gave an interview to a local channel, in which he said: “Taiwan is the first country to be able to see Fast & Furious 9 ”;
Anger of Chinese Internet users, who pushed the American star to publish, Tuesday, May 25, a short video of apologies on the social network Weibo. “I have given many, many interviews for Fast and Furious 9 and I made a mistake during an interview ”, pleaded in Mandarin John Cena. “I have to say, and this is very, very important, that I love and respect China and the Chinese people. I’m really, really sorry for my mistake. I apologize”, he hammered in a sequence viewed more than two million times.
It must be said that the Taiwanese file is hot in China, the country claiming the island that it considers to be one of its provinces. The Middle Kingdom regularly threatens to resort to force in the event of an official proclamation of independence of the territory. Beijing does not hesitate to use its vast domestic market as a means of pressure against major international brands. In the past, the NBA and luxury giants have also been the victims of boycotts and the anger of the Chinese population for having addressed the issue of human rights or subjects that the communist regime considers sensitive.