Poster for Big Trouble in Little China
Film,  Podcast

Hops and Box Office Flops: ‘BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA’

It’s All in the Reflexes

Poster for Big Trouble in Little China

Big Trouble in Little China is a seminal 80s movie, and it may just be John Carpenter’s best work

Starring Kurt Russell—a frequent Carpenter collaborator—as the braggadocios Jack Burton, it takes a familiar formula (the action/comedy team up) and escorts it into a superbly crafted world of ancient Chinese mysticism and mayhem.

It subverts audience expectations in other ways, as well. Burton—for all his witticisms—is not your stereotypical hero. He’s actually more a bumbling, albeit well-intentioned, buffoon. The true hero is his friend Wang Chi (Dennis Dun).

Their natural chemistry, along with the film’s out of this world villains, creates something more than your average action movie. It’s truly unforgettable, which is why it has persisted in the pop culture zeitgeist. They simply just do not make many movies as delightfully offbeat as this.

Gracie Law (Kim Cattrall), Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), Wang Chi (Dennis Dun), and Miao Yin (Suzee Pai) in Big Trouble in Little China

That’s also probably why it flopped, opening to just $2.7 million and finishing its run with just over $11 million. With a budget estimated to be as high as $25 million, that’s not great.

What is great is the following Big Trouble in Little China has amassed since its release. It may not have been in theaters long enough for word of mouth to spread, but its distinction as a cult classic is more than well earned now.

So sit back, get hairy with Yeti Imperial Stout from Great Divide Brewing Co., and stay the hell away from the Chinese standoff! I, the Thunderous Wizard (@WriterTLK), Capt. CashChumpzilla, and Mayor McCheese are infiltrating the Wing Kong Exchange to save Miao Yin!

This Week’s Segments:

  • Introduction/Plot Breakdown – Equal parts weird, wacky, and wonderful, Big Trouble in Little China is truly a cult classic. (00:00) 
  •  Lingering Questions – We send The Double Turn Podcast off the ropes, and then we discuss why we love this film so much! (50:21)
  • The “Six Demon Bag” Trivia Challenge – After a word from our beer buddies at Hop Nation USA, I challenge the field to a series of trivia questions about the movie and the continued lore of Jack Burton. (1:08:23)
  • Recommendations – We offer our picks for the week, and next up: We kickoff our “Hops and Rock Bottom Flops” series with Baywatch! (1:17:53)

And, as always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to check out all the interesting factoids—Lo Pan Style and more—from this week’s episode!

You can find this episode of Hops and Box Office Flops on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlayStitcherPodbeanSpotifyAcastTuneIniHeartRadioVurbl, and Amazon Music!

Thomas Kelly

Writer, Superman aficionado, lover of odd and underperforming sports teams, and co-host of the film adoring podcast, Hops and Box Office Flops

%d bloggers like this: