Director Nguyễn Quang Dũng. Photo laodong.vn
Tiệc Trăng Máu (Blood Moon Party) by director Nguyễn Quang Dũng has grossed VNĐ175 billion (US$7.5 million), making it among the top three highest-grossing Vietnamese movies of all time.
The black comedy is a remake of the original from Italy titled Perfetti Sconosciuti (Perfect Strangers) and is the most remade film in cinema history, with a total of 18 versions of the film.
Lao Động (Labour) newspaper reporter Ngọc Dủ spoke with Dũng about the film:
Were you surprised by the film's success? How are you and the crew celebrating?
Our group chat is busy and fun. We are glad because we made it. We have a mission to lure audiences to the cinema after social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the beginning, we expected to reach more than 2 million viewers.
What made this movie successful, the script, actors or the release time?
The film has almost everything that is great including a script, actors, crew, producer and distributor. I feel it is worthy of its success.
One thing that thrilled us was the film's release time. October is traditionally a bad time of the year to release a film as film revenue at this time is almost the lowest of the year.
But this year was special so no one could have guessed what would happen.
Some have said the success was due to the popular script. What do you think about this?
Obviously, the original script is so popular and that's why it's been made in almost 20 countries. But we need to mention the film producer. He was smart to choose a good script meeting the demand of the film viewers. And he bought the film copyright.
It also needed the effort of the film crew to make it successful in the Vietnamese market because not all film remake projects are good. It is not easy to remake a popular film.
The cinema industry needs to invest in scripts. Scriptwriting is not very lucrative, which is leading to a lack of talented screenwriters. Talented writers have to compete to write good scripts.
You are popular with blockbusters Nụ Hôn Thần Chết (A Kiss of Death), Những Nụ Hôn Rực Rỡ (Vivid Kisses) and Mỹ Nhân Kế (Beauty Trap). What do you think about remakes? Are they a way to develop the Vietnamese cinema industry?
I begin filmmaking with my own scripts. These films are box-office hits. I think few film directors can do that.
I'm doing film projects. Now, I have more time to focus on writing scripts. While I'm preparing for filmmaking from my own scripts I can do remakes.
It is better that we play to our strengths to bring something valuable to life. I don't need to prove my skill in filmmaking.
I'm planning to make three films and none of them are remakes. One of them will be adapted from the popular Đất Rừng Phương Nam (Southern Land) literature work.
We have planned it for five years. It is a big project and needs a lot of money. After this project, I will do Chiếc Lược Ngà (The Ivory Comb) by writer Nguyễn Quang Sáng.
Are you pleased to be among the top-grossing directors?
I don't like the title because it will change over time. I think that each period has its own meaning and value. I just want to be called Nguyễn Quang Dũng or Dũng "khùng" (crazy Dũng).
Nowadays, directors tend to cast new actors instead of top-grossing actors. Do you think it is risky or a breakthrough?
It is important that the actor is chosen in accordance with the role. Directors also want to make new actors popular. Celebrity value is an obvious and important factor in the market. — VNS