Chow comedy smashes local box-office record
Stephen Chow Sing-chi's comedy blockbuster Kung Fu Hustle has pushed its way to the box office record for local movies in just 45 days, raking in more than $60 million since its release in December.
It displaced another Chow comedy, Shaolin Soccer, which has topped the list since 2001. Shaolin Soccer, also kung-fu themed, grossed $60.7 million in 85 days.
Kung Fu Hustle is expected to earn much more than its present take of $60.8 million because it will continue showing in cinemas during the Lunar New Year holidays. Many expect it to become the city's most popular film ever.
Its box-office success has possible explanations beyond its quality and star factors.
To lure people into cinemas instead of buying pirated VCDs, free VCDs featuring unseen film clips are given to cinema-goers buying at least two tickets.
The film has received good reviews from local film critics. It received 16 nominations, including the best film, director and acting categories, for the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards.
Chow, one of Hong Kong's most popular comedians and actors, was nominated for best director, screenplay and actor.
His co-stars, veteran performers Yuen Qiu and Yuen Wah, were nominated as best actress and best supporting actor.
The film, about an unknown young thief, Sing, who aspires to join an infamous and ruthless underground triad gang in pre-1911 revolution China, took three years to make.