Earlier this year, Tom Cruise starred in a remake of “The Mummy.” It didn’t do much at the US Box office– just $80 million. But in China, “The Mummy” tickets sold faster than chopsticks. It made $91 million– not only much more than in the US but a major chunk of its total non US worldwide sales of $330 million.
So you’d think “American Made,” the next Tom Cruise movie, would have been eagerly embraced in Chinese cine-philes.
Alas, months after its release, “American Made” has never been released in China. It was a huge dud in the US– just $51.3 million, an all time low in the Cruise canon. Without China, international sales for “American Made” were just $83 million. The total worldwide box office was less than what Cruise spends on [fill in the blank– fast cars, planes, Scientology centers…].
The no China release is particularly weird since the second biggest Chinese theater owner, Dadi, announced in June it was investing in the movie. A press release read: “Dadi will serve as a marketing and promotional partner for American Made in China.”
But it does seem like whatever investment Dadi intended, once they saw the US box office they cut their losses. Too bad, since “American Made” was a very good movie.
Was it the title? The original title was “Mena.” Did everyone in the world turn off to the “American”? Was it the nature of Cruise’s character, Barry Seal? He was a conniving guy, but very charismatic. The Russians didn’t mind him in their theaters. But China wasn’t having it. Or maybe it was just that $91 million was such a crazy number, they figured they couldn’t compete with it– better let Cruise sit this one out until “Mission Impossible 6.”