The most disappointing films in the Chinese mainland in 2015

By Wei Xi Source:Global Times Published: 2016-1-5 19:23:01

According to statistics from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, 686 films were released in theaters in the Chinese mainland in 2015, contributing to a box office revenue of more than 44 billion yuan ($6.74 billion).

Eighty one  films earned more than 100 million yuan in China. Of these, 47 were domestic films.

However, financial success doesn't automatically mean a film is a good one. While earnings were high and there was a marked improvement in production quality overall, there were still many films that left audiences disappointed. Here the Global Times takes a look at some of the best and most disappointing films of 2015 to help readers figure out what 2015 films are worth catching up on and which are to be avoided.

Promotional material for Forever Young Photo: CFP

As everybody has his or her own individual tastes when it comes to movies, as such it's often hard to draw a simple conclusion as to whether a film is bad or good. However, when it comes to films that came out in 2015, there definitely were some that didn't live up to audience expectations. Referencing ratings from and, two of the most popular film review sites in China, we at the Global Times would like to take a look at the top five most disappointing films in China for 2015.

Forever Young

Director: He Jiong

Rising from variety show Happy Camp, He Jiong, the show's host, is one of China's most popular icons today. Having appeared in quite a few roles in stage dramas and films he has proved himself to be a talented actor. With his name attached to the film, Forever Young, his directorial debut, was highly anticipated, especially since the film featured popular actor Li Yifeng. Making Forever Young a success should not have been a difficult task, since it was a simple romance story in a genre many green directors begin with. Yet, it still managed to fail. Relying on old clichés like lead character's best friends die in a car accident and lacking a believable plot, the story ended up falling flat. For some reason the director also though not having a climax would be a good move, while the lead actors and actresses seemed to have everything they needed for the role, except decent acting skills. 

Mtime: 3.7/10

Douban: 4.1/10

You Are My Sunshine

Director: Huang Bin and Yang Wenjun

Adapted from a popular novel, You Are My Sunshine is another romance film featuring popular stars. While a TV series based on the same story aired earlier that year, it received only a lukewarm reception from audiences, leaving fans of the original novel pinning their hopes on the film version. Unfortunately, the film was even worse than the show.

"You Are My Sunshine completely breaks from the structure of a film. It has a random jumpy plot, and a setting that make no sense. The directors and scriptwriters seem to assume that every one in the audience has already memorized the novel," commented netizen Mengli Shishu on Douban.

"A fan of the book, I couldn't stop myself from watching the film even after seeing so many complaints. It was disappointing. They didn't rework the story at all. As such, simply copying the content from the book resulting in a chaotic timeline," another netizen, Dingdufeng Shang Dingduge, posted on Douban.

Mtime: 4.4/10

Douban: 3.7/10

Hollywood Adventures

Director: Timothy Kendall

Not only did Chinese studios produce some stinkers, foreign filmmakers had a few of their own.

Hollywood Adventure, a film worked on by a mixed group of filmmakers from China and abroad and starring a dozen big-name stars such as Zhao Wei, Sung Kang, Kat Dennings and Simon Helberg. However, the film turned out to be nothing but a collection of famous faces and little else.

Posters advertising the film featured three exaggerated funny faces leading many to wonder whether the film was going to be the Chinese version of Bollywood film 3 Idiots. Yet, it seems the director had bigger ambitions, because he also grabbed elements from a few other films such as Lost in Thailand, Breakup Buddies and Fast & Furious. However, Hollywood Adventure proved to be the perfect example that mashing a bunch of popular stars and scenes from classic films does not always make a better film. In the end, you just get something that is neither fish nor fowl. As netizen Fangfei Xiaozhu's review on Mtime put it: "It has a five-star hotel cast, but motel quality."     

Mtime: 5.3/10

Douban: 4.6/10

Promotional material for Lady of the Dynasty Photo: CFP

Lady of the Dynasty

Director: Shi Qing and Tian Zhuangzhuang

A historically-based film, Lady of the Dynasty tells the story of the famous beauty of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) - Yang Guifei, or the Imperial Consort Yang. According to some early media reports, the film took six years to produce. All posters and trailers seemed to set this film up as a major blockbuster.

However, while the film does have a number of grand scenes full of experimental visuals, the two-hour story has no idea what its focus should be. Add to that the fact that lead actress Fan Bingbing ended up portraying a lifeless version of Yang. Fan is known for her period history work as she has played a number of influential historical figures on TV, to include Yang and Wu Zetian, the first and only female emperor in Chinese history. However, in Fan's hands each of these figures ends up feeling the same.

Mtime: 4.3/10

Douban: 3.7/10

Promotional material for Bride Wars Photo: CFP

Bride Wars

Director: Tony Chan

Some readers may have noticed that the film has the same title as the 2009 US rom-com. Yes, this is a Chinese adaptation of the Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway film.

Though the US film was merely average, the Chinese adaptation was bad: The story develops at a rapid pace without giving time for any emotional tension to build. As a result, audiences had a difficult time empathizing with any of the major emotional beats.

Mtime: 4.7/10

Douban: 4.0/10

Newspaper headline: Not up to expectations

Posted in: Film

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