'Love in the Buff' Triumphs Over 'Hunger Games' in Hong Kong

Sequel to local cult favorite, 'Love in the Buff" gained a lead over worldwide box office juggernaut 'The Hunger Games'

HONG KONG – Local favorite Love in the Buff got off to a fighting start with a HK$9.1 million ($1.2 million) gross in its first four days, beating worldwide blockbuster The Hunger Games, which took HK$11.3 million in eleven days.

Love in the Buff, the Media Asia sequel to the 2010 smokers’ romance Love in a Puff from director Pang Ho-cheung, which saw the original leads Miriam Yeung and Shawn Yue relocating and reuniting in Beijing, grossed over HK1.1 million on its opening day last Thursday (March 29).  The film, which premiered as the opening film of the 36th Hong Kong International Film Festival, accumulated an opening day and advance screenings on the previous weekend gross that totaled HK$3.2 million, a stunning 32-fold increase from Puff’s opening day in 2010.  The original’s local takings were restricted by its Category III (equivalent to NC17) rating, due to lifelike swearing portrayed in the film; its subject matter also ruled out the film’s release in China. But the film’s local flavor has earned it a cult following in Hong Kong.

The sequel Buff, though, was a Hong Kong- China co-production that opened simultaneously in China last Thursday with 11,000 shows on its first day.

Meanwhile, The Hunger Games opened on March 22 with less than a million Hong Kong dollars, and took HK$5.3 million in its first four days, a respectable, but less than stellar start.  The second four-day weekend period saw the gross dropped to HK$3.5 million.

The warm local reception enjoyed by Love in the Buff looks to continue the success of home-grown productions of late shown by A Simple Life from veteran director Ann Hui, who was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Asian Film Awards two weeks ago.  The award-sweeping film, which earned its female lead Deanie Ip a best actress statuette at the Venice International Film Festival last year and took home best director, best actress and best actor (Andy Lau) awards at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, grossed over HK$23 million ($3 million) in Hong Kong, and 62 million yuan ($9.8 million) in China since its March 8 release.