Even though Hong Kong viewers gave a lukewarm response to Journey to the West <西遊‧降魔篇>, mainland Chinese audiences received it warmly, contributing to the film’s opening-day record of 78 million RMB, beating Painted Skin: The Resurrection’s <畫皮2 > opening day sales of 70 million RMB last summer.
Stellar Cast Plus Stephen’s Unique Comedy Style
While the absence of Stephen Chow (周星馳) in the movie itself may have caused the shortfall in earnings in Hong Kong, the casting of uprising China actors such as Wen Zheng (文章) and Huang Bo (黃渤) may have helped boost its mainland draw. Add in Taiwanese singing sensation, Show Luo (羅志祥) and sexy sirens, Shu Qi (舒淇) and Chrissy Chau (周秀娜), Stephen seemed to find a winning formula to woo mainland viewers. On its Lunar New Year opening day, it easily beat New Year films, Better and Better <越來越好之村晚> and Love Retake <愛情不NG> by leaps and bounds.
Since the opening of the film, Shu Qi who portrayed the lovelorn demon hunter, received much acclaim and recognition, proving Stephen Chow’s unique eye for casting.
Hong Kong Reception
Comedies have always enjoyed a good viewership over the Lunar New Year periods. However, in Hong Kong this year, the Hollywood sequel, A Good Day To Die Hard starring Bruce Willis beat local comedies, Hotel Deluxe <百星酒店>, I Love Hong Kong 2013 <2013我愛HK恭囍發> and Journey to the West at the box office. Hotel Deluxe, which stars several comedy heavyweights such as Raymond Wong (黃百鳴), Sandra Ng (吳君如), Teresa Mo (毛舜筠) and Ronald Cheng (鄭中基) brought in $3.85 million HKD. I Love Hong Kong 2013 which stars Bosco Wong (黃宗澤), Kate Tsui (徐子珊), Alan Tam (譚詠麟) and Veronica Yip (葉玉卿) brought in $4.07 million HKD. Though A Chinese Odyssey Journey to the West surpassed the two, bringing in $7.27 million HKD in Hong Kong, the sum is inconsequential compared to its success in China.
Source: Ming Pao
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