Movie fans rush to buy Shaw Brothers DVDs after Sir Run Run's death

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 January, 2014, 5:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 January, 2014, 5:01am

Sales of Shaw Brothers DVDs have shot up 40 per cent as fans rediscover the classics after the death of studio founder Sir Run Run Shaw.

Sir Run Run died on Tuesday at the age of 107, his family said - though some Shaw-related websites put his age at 106 - after an extraordinary life in which he built Hong Kong into the "Hollywood of the Orient" and became a leading philanthropist.

"Our customers have always shown interest in Shaw Brothers' movies. Since Run Run Shaw passed away, the demand has increased," said Gary Luk, a marketing representative for HMV, which reported the sales rise.

HMV's five local stores carry about 450 of the more than 1,000 titles made by Shaw Brothers. Its top seller is Justice My Foot, a 1992 comedy starring Stephen Chow Sing-chi as an unscrupulous lawyer, followed by The Kingdom & The Beauty, a musical drama set in imperial China, and The Love Eterne, an adaptation of a traditional Chinese opera called The Butterfly Lovers. The latter is a film that Oscar-winning Taiwanese director Ang Lee said always made him cry.

"The usual buyers are around 40 to 60 years old, but the movies have a cult following in the younger generation," Luk said. "There's always a Shaw Brothers section in each of our stores."

While Sir Run Run is best known beyond Asia for helping to popularise the kung fu action genre, others remember him for his interest in, and support of, science and education. Most notably, he created the annual Shaw Prize awards for academic excellence, dubbed "Asia's Nobels".

"I've always found it amazing that a movie mogul would care so much about excellence in academic research," said Jane Luu, an American professor and 2012 recipient of the Shaw Prize for astronomy. "Many institutes of higher learning bear his name, and scientists who may never have seen his movies are aware of the prestigious Shaw prizes … I will forever be grateful for what he has done to my career."