Hong Kong movies make a dramatic showing at the boxoffice


According to the Motion Picture Industry Association of Hong Kong, 60 locally made films or Hong Kong/China co-productions were released in Hong Kong in the year ending in October, up from 56 the previous year.

The summer months saw the most substantial revival -- whereas only five Hong Kong productions were out in 2008, this year saw 11 local films running against the Hollywood blockbusters, and an encouraging 81% increase in the grosses, from HK34.5 million in summer 2008 to HK62.4 million in 2009.

But the overall annual boxoffice for local films enjoyed a modest rise, up from HK1.097 billion to HK1.12 billion.

Four local films got into the top 10 in the summer: the Shaw Brothers' comeback "Turning Point" (HK15.7 million), "Overheard" from the "Infernal Affairs" team (HK15.5 million), Edko's Aaron Kwok thriller "Murderer" (HK11.7 million) and period comedy "On His Majesty's Secret Service" (HK8.8 million). Only two made the cut last summer.

Although the number of local releases rose slightly in 2009, what's staggering is the upcoming Chinese New Year public holiday slot, which will see 10 Hong Kong/Chinese-language high-profile projects competing in three weeks in February. It's something the which hasn't been seen since the 1990s.

In this arena, there are the usual suspects, such as Jackie Chan's costume action comedy "Little Big Soldier" and the Andy Lau starrer "Future X-Cop" by director Wong Jing.

Timely comedy "All's Well, Ends Well 2010" by Herman Yau, starring Sandra Ng and Louis Koo, will butt heads with the Shaw Brothers' second feature since its reboot, "House of 72 Tenants," co-directed by Eric Tsang and Patrick Kong.

Period drama is also a must, and one of the most revered figures in Chinese cinema will take the stage, with Chow Yun-fat playing the scholar and philosopher in the Hu Mei-directed "Confucius."

Donnie Yen will also make an appearance in "14 Blades," a period actioner helmed by Daniel Lee.

"It'll be cutthroat," predicts Brian Chung, CEO of the Hong Kong Motion Pictures Industry Association. "The hits will win by a landslide, while the screens for those films that don't have enough audience numbers will be cut very quickly."