'3D Sex & Zen' Beats Out 'Avatar' for One-Day Hong Kong Record

One Dollar Productions.

The 3D erotic film beat out James Cameron's sci-fi adventure to reclaim its producer's earliest box office title.

HONG KONG – 3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy beat Avatar and Lust, Caution as it smashed records as the highest 3D debut in Hong Kong and reclaimed its crown as the highest-grossing Category III film opening.

The locally produced 3D erotica raked in HK$2.79 million ($360,000) on its first day, according to the Hong Kong Motion Pictures Industry Association. The film was touted as the world’s first stereoscopic 3D softcore porn before the honor was usurped by South Korea’s Natali, released last year. The opening box office result of 3D Sex and Zen trumped James Cameron’s 3D extravaganza Avatar’s HK$2.5 million opening gross in 2009, and more than doubled the HK$1.2 million opening of Lust, Caution.

The latter triumph was particularly sweet for the producers of 3D Sex and Zen, as previously, Lust, Caution broke the record held for 17 years as the highest-grossing Category III, or adults-only, Chinese-language film with sexual content, pushing out the original 1991 Sex and Zen, also from the new version’s producer Stephen Shiu Sr. Ang Lee’s 2007 spy thriller grossed HK$49 million to become the top Category III  film of all time in Hong Kong, overtaking Sex and Zen’s HK$20 million, while Avatar eventually grossed over HK$180 million, the top-grossing film of all time in the territory, in 3D or otherwise.

Producers had set aside “lady’s house” women-only screenings of the film on two screens, which proved popular as well and were sold out. But the film’s box office earning power should have legs for the upcoming May 1 Chinese holiday, as Chinese tourists to Hong Kong are expected to squeeze in a screening of the 3D erotic film during their visit to Hong Kong. Shiu Sr. made the film knowing it wouldn’t pass the censors in China. Chinese tourists also flocked to see the full version of Lust, Caution in Hong Kong, which boosted the general gross of the film here.