Top Chinese movie director Feng Xiaogang has angrily hit back at negative reviews of his new film, defending his work that has been largely regarded by critics as a disappointment.
Feng’s bitter response to his “shallow” critics came after his much-anticipated new comedy Personal Tailor that hit Chinese cinemas last Thursday had already grossed a record-breaking 400 million yuan (HK$507 million), despite overwhelming criticism.
“I gave the movie an overall score of five (out of 10) … but to the majority of those movie critics who think they understand movies, I score you a three… your mockery only reflect your shallowness,” Feng wrote in a post published on his Sina Weibo microblog, adding: “It’s such an embarrassment that you have the audacity to mislead the audience.”
The post was one of the six posts Feng wrote in two hours on Sunday morning, showcasing his defiance against reviews critical of the movie seen as a sequel to Feng’s 1997 production of The Dream Factory, which portrayed a group of actors running a business that helped clients to live out their fantasies.
Some moviegoers called Personal Tailer the “worst movie ever made by Feng”. Others turned to online platforms to express their disappointment.
Users on popular online community Douban, home to user-generated reviews, gave the movie a mediocre score of 5.4 out of 10. Similarly, the movie received an average score of 5.7 out of 10 from over 9,500 critics on China’s biggest film review website Mtime.com.
In comparison, director Ning Hao’s adventure comedy No Man’s Land, despite only netting 140 million yuan in its first week on screens, received a score of 8.2 from mtime.com users.
Responding to fan questions on weibo, Feng reflected on his success in the past.
“Talking about The Dream Factory, I can still vividly remember the widespread criticism at the time…it sounded pretty much like today, nothing creative,” Feng said in another post. The Dream Factory faced some early poor reviews from industry critics but turned out to be a big hit that established Feng as China’s most well-known comedy director.
After largely unflattering reviews, the Personal Tailor’s high turnover came as a surprise to everyone, including Feng himself. “A film made for fun has amassed 400 million (yuan) in a week. But the movie I made seriously couldn’t make money,” Feng was quoted as saying at a film award ceremony, referring to his historical tragedy Back to 1942 which depicted the plight of tens of millions of farmers who suffered from famine during the Sino-Japanese war.
“I am puzzled,” Feng wrote.