Initially, hopes were high that Chinese sci-fi movie Shanghai Fortress would be a huge hit like Wandering Earth.

A cinema in Shenzhen even charged more than 1,000 yuan (S$196) per ticket when Lu Han, a singer who stars in the movie, turned up last week to promote it.

But the film-makers’ hopes have since come crashing down to earth, with netizens saying they were not impressed by what they saw since the movie was rolled out on Aug 9.

Some have asked the producers to apologise for what they perceive as a setback for the Chinese movie industry after Wandering Earth had drawn raves for taking homegrown sci-fi flicks to a higher orbit.

Shanghai Fortress, which is based on a novel by Jiang Nan and co- stars Shu Qi, tracks the efforts to ward off alien invaders, with Shanghai being the last human stronghold.

It took in only 74 million yuan on the first day of release, with some reviewers writing it off with only one star.

In contrast, animated film Ne Zha netted 110 million yuan on Friday.

On Sunday, the sci-fi movie made only 11.78 million yuan, a disaster given that it cost 400 million yuan to make, and a further 70 million yuan to promote, reported the HK01 portal.

The Wandering Earth raked in 4.6 billion yuan earlier this year.