3-D porn film tops Avatar for first-day take

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 April, 2011, 12:00am
 

Sex and 3-D have worked their magic as Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy surpassed on its premiere the first-day local box office takings achieved by Hollywood 3-D epic Avatar.

The local production, billed as the world's first 3-D soft porn movie, is estimated to have drawn about 30,000 viewers and took in HK$2,785,918 on Thursday, according to the Hong Kong, Kowloon and New Territories Motion Pictures Industry Association. Avatar earned HK$2.5 million on its first day.

A mainland couple were caught and fined trying to film the movie with their mobile phones.

Two 'ladies only' screenings held last night at Times Square and Langham Place were sold out. More women-only screenings will be held during the Easter holiday.

'We had responses from a lot of women saying that they wanted to watch this movie, but they did not want to be surrounded by men in the cinema,' said the film's producer Stephen Shiu, who initially expected the movie to open by taking about HK$2 million.

The HK$25 million production also surpassed the opening-day box office of another category III film Lust, Caution, which earned HK$2,634,133 on its first day. The award-winning movie by legendary Taiwanese director Ang Lee grossed HK$48,758,480.

The original 1991 erotic cult sensation Sex and Zen, on which the latest 3-D version is based, grossed HK$1,908,227 on its first day, and eventually took HK$18 million at the box office.

'Considering the fact that we are a category III film and we opened on a weekday during the non-holiday season, this is beyond our expectations,' Shiu said.

With more and more blockbusters being produced jointly by Hong Kong and mainland studios, Shiu said the popularity of his film proved that making movies catering to the mainland market was not the only formula for success.

'Because we have freedom of speech, we do not have to follow the mainland market and our film is a good example,' he said. The mainland does not have a film classification system and movies with adult content are banned. Shiu said he had gathered from cinema operators that around 20 to 30 per cent of 30,000 viewers on Thursday were mainland tourists. 'They cannot see the film in China, and they are curious to see the movie, just like anyone else.'

The film, based on a piece from classical Chinese erotic literature, The Carnal Prayar Mat written by Li Yu in the 17th century, had apparently drawn attention from a female audience, Shiu sad. He was already thinking about a sequel.

The mainland couple caught filming the movie with their mobile phones were each fined HK$2,000.

Businessman Wang Manhua, 34, and his wife Zhou Jeihong, 32, pleaded guilty in Kwun Tong Court to possession of video recording equipment in a place of public entertainment.

Cinema workers at Kowloon Tong's Festival Walk spotted the couple and two others sitting in the same row filming during an afternoon showing and alerted the Customs and Excise Department.

Wang told customs officers who arrived at the scene that he did not know filming was illegal, and that he was only doing it for fun.

The prosecution yesterday applied for their two mobile phones to be confiscated, but Wang asked the court if they could keep them. He said his phone contained his bank account details while his wife's phone contained their son's homework.

Acting Principal Magistrate Rickie Chan Kam-cheong refused to return the phones as they were used to commit the offence.

The movie will be opening in Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, France, Italy, Russia and Peru, among other countries.

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