Hong Kong Box Office Down Slightly in First Half of 2011

Local films holding their own, led by softcore '3D Sex & Zen.'

HONG KONG -- Overall film gross for the first six months of 2011 in Hong Kong has shrunk but local films have held their own, according to the Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association.

Box office grosses totaled HK$633 million ($81 million) from Jan. 1 to June 30, 2011, a 4.4% drop from HK$662 million within the same period in 2010, while the total number of films released rose from 137 last year to 143 this year.

So far this year, four Hong Kong productions have taken over HK$20 million at cinemas, with the HK$41 million-grossing softcore hit 3D Sex and Zen -- still showing since its April 14 release -– topped the chart for local films. Two Chinese New Year comedies, Shaw Brothers/TVB’s I Love Hong Kong and Pegasus’s All's Well, Ends Well 2011 also made the local top four, with HK$27 million and HK$20.3 million in second and fourth place, respectively. Emperor’s Shaolin came in third with HK$20.5 million.

Besides HK$45 million-grossing Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, which broke three box office records in its opening last weekend, Hollywood imports put on a comparatively weak show for the first half of the year. Only Fox’s X Men: First Class and the James Cameron co-produced surprise hit Sanctum broke the HK$20 million mark, taking HK$25 million and HK$22 million, respectively.

Things are likely to change very soon entering July, when current and potential blockbusters such as Transformers, which has already raked in over HK$40 million in five days, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and Kung Fu Panda 2, all in 3D, are lined up to open at the beginning, middle and end of the month.