“五毛” means “50 cents” and “特效” means “special effects.” As nowadays one yuan won’t even buy you a bun in a supermarket, 50 cents is almost useless.
Coined by Chinese netizens, “五毛特效” is used to criticize poor special effects in some movies and TV shows, as some people say they are “worth less than 50 cents.” If too little money is invested into special effects, it will lead to poor films, which viewers will not buy.
Nǐ kàn guóchǎn xuánhuànjù ma?
Do you watch Chinese fantasy TV series?
Bù kàn。Yīnwèi wǒ wúfǎ rěnshòu diànshìjù lǐ de wǔmáo tèxiào。
Not really. I cannot stand the poor special effects in those shows.