Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Battle of the Lunar New Year Movies

Much has been said about the upcoming battle of the local releases come next week, where cash registers usually ring loudly at the box office because traditionally that's when a Jack Neo film rakes in big bucks giving the mass audience what they want. Now with Ekachai Uekrongtham also encroaching to the space, what does this competition spell for us?

To the average Joe, a whole lot of confusion that's what!

If It's a Fight You Want, It's a Fight You'll Get!

First, did they hire the same designer for their posters, or is Red/Pink the automatic "In" colour because of the festive season? Also, wedding gowns and suits are in vogue too, though while it is relevant for Ekachai's movie, I am inclined to think that the first poster could have been a comedic swipe at the latter. After all, it's a romantic movie with a lot more than a Wedding to employ, right?

And look at the supporting cast lining up the bottom of the posters too, to say that this is not just a Yeo Yann Yann/Henry Thia versus Fann Wong/Christopher Lee movie (no prizes which of the two couples are more eye candy), but to show off that their respective films boast a regional cast, for that release on foreign shores.

We're Regional Talent Who?

And what do you know, there's a common character in both films, no thanks to local audiences being already introduced to Lai Ming from Malaysia, who now recycles the jokes from Money No Enough 2 for Jack, and pairs up again with Fann Wong after their Ah Long Pte Ltd stint. You're not to blame if you're seeing double!

Dunno Whether Ekachai Called Lao Zha Bor Or Not?

Next, the flip flopping of the titles. I hope that by now they have stuck to what should be the final Final titles. Jack Neo and Gilbert Chan's movie (the latter also conspicuously left out of Top Billing in the credit - the marketers chose "A Jack Neo Film" for an obvious reason than a riskier "Gilber Chan Who?" effect). From Republic of Happiness, it is now Love Matters, and Wedding of the Year is now known as The Wedding Game.

Between the two movies, The Wedding Game flinched first. Rather than go head to head on the exact same traditional opening day of Thursday next week, it had decided to leave that date for Love Matters and shift itself to Lunar New Year eve on Sunday (25th), forgoing three extra days of intake to bang on families going out for a movie after their Reunion Dinner.

And if you're putting your money on Jack Neo winning at this box office battle, don't count your chickens just yet. Jack Neo has announced on his latest blog entry that his film is rated NC-16! If memory serves me right, this is probably his first movie out of 13 that's given this rating for a general release (anyone with elephant memories, could you please check for me?). And the major implication of course is for secondary/primary school students who are fans/friends of the child actors used in his film, couldn't make a beeline for the box office.

Sorry Kids, You Cannot See This

Worst, this means that families with children can't fit everybody into the same cinema hall watching the same movie, leaving the doors for The Wedding Game wide open as an alternative that fits all age groups.

The salvo has been fired, by the regulators instead of the filmmakers themselves. Let's see how it develops!

Related Links
- Love Matters Official Web Site
- Love Matters Trailer on YouTube
- The Wedding Game Official Web Site
- The Wedding Game Teaser on YouTube
- The Wedding Game Trailer on YouTube

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