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Hollywood Isn't the Only One Making Movies

2013-02-19 10:41:24        Chinese Films
While in Asia, tens of millions of film fanatics are flocking to movie theaters across Asia during the long Lunar New Year holidays. But Hollywood can't count on them to boost box office takings for its mostly serious Oscar nominees. With Academy Awards fever bubbling just two weeks ahead of the ceremony, most cinema-goers are opting for lighter fare.

There's a subgenre of Chinese New Year comedies churned out each year by Hong Kong studios.

They're aimed specifically at holiday filmgoers.

This year, the crop includes "Journey to the West" -- a prequel to the classic Chinese fable. It's directed by Hong Kong comedy star Stephen Chow, best known for the films "Shaolin Soccer" and "Kung Fu Hustle".

There's also "Hotel Deluxe," set in Hangzhou and "I Love Hong Kong 2013," about a family run restaurant, the last in a trilogy.

31-year-old Hong Kong movie fan Leo Wong explains why he won't be seeing "Lincoln" this holiday season, despite its 12 Oscar nominations.

Movie fan Leo Wong said, "Lincoln was an American. I think Americans will be more interested in the film. We don't really understand their history, and it's too serious."

Other Hong Kong movie fans agree with the sentiment...preferring locally-produced comedies.

Movie fan Christine Lam said, "On Chinese New Year, we want to watch Chinese movies instead of more western styled films, because it gives you the vibe."

Stephen Chow's "Journey to the West" is the most popular Chinese language film in Hong Kong over the lunar New Year holidays. Mainland box office takings are even more impressive...over 400 million RMB during the past 5 days.

Movie goers in Taiwan seem to share the same taste for local laughs. This year's movie of choices is the Taiwan-produced gangster comedy, "David Loman".

Of course, it doesn't mean Oscar-nominated films aren't popular.

In Taipei, "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Argo" are drawing in the holiday crowds.

Movie fan in Taipei said, "An Oscar nomination doesn't always mean a film is good. But it does mean they are generally up to a certain standard."

So it seems domestic-made films are pushing for a big share in the new year film market.

And that's especially true for those offering movie-goers some holiday laughter.


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