HCM CITY — Many private studios that spent a fortune on trailers and TV and newspaper advertisements before they released films for Tet (Lunar New Year holidays) have hit the jackpot.
|Winning formula: Thien Menh Anh Hung (Born to Be a Hero), a kung-fu film co-produced by the Saiga and Phuong Nam studios, was released during Tet. — File Photo
Phuoc Sang Entertainment Company's full-length comedy Hello Co Ba (Hello Ms Ba), for instance, raked in VND25 billion (US$1.2 million) at the box office in just nine days starting on January 20.
Luu Phuoc Sang, the company owner, says: "We're very hopeful the number will shoot up further."
Phuoc Sang, whose film was not as high-budget as those made by some other studios like Thien Ngan and Saiga Film, has set its sights on collecting a further VND5 billion.
The film is about the life of Tu Lan (played by comedian Hoai Linh), a farmer who migrates from his native village to HCM City to work as a fortune-teller. After bitter failures, he returns home.
Directed by Nguyen Quang Minh, a newcomer, the 90-minute-long Hello Ms Ba also features many other famous comics.
Thien Ngan Studio's supernatural thriller Loi Nguyen Huyet Hai (Blood Vow) raked in around VND15 billion in two weeks.
It tells the story of Chieu Duong, a 16-year-old girl who has unusual powers – the ability to read people's minds and foretell disasters.
Full of visual and sound effects, the film, directed by Bui Thac Chuyen – who is also the film's co-scriptwriters – has a freshness in terms of both content and performance.
Vietnamese-American director Victor Vu's Thien Menh Anh Hung (Born to Be a Hero), a martial arts flick, has earned more than VND10 billion ($500,000).
Based on a novel by writer Bui Anh Tan, the film is about the secrets of a famous family living during the time of the Le dynasty, including the tragic love of Nguyen Vu, the family's only son, for Hoa Xuan, a kungfu artist.
Co-producers Saiga Film and Phuong Nam signed up scores of top make-up artists and fashion designers for the film.
But Born to Be a Hero is a serious film, not something moviegoers prefer to see during Tet when comedies are a perennial favourite.
"I don't think we should change our style of making comedies for Tet because audiences want to see them," Phuoc Sang, who has a reputation for making comedies, said.
His studio's films for the new year always feature comedy along with action and issues like love and life, apparently a winning formula since it has never lost money on such films.
This year producers also released their films outside cities – in provinces like Binh Duong, Dong Nai, and Phu Yen and even in remote areas – in collaboration with local cultural agencies. — VNS