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Vietnamese films lag behind Hollywood blockbusters at box office

By Mai Nhat   April 15, 2022 | 09:00 pm PT
Vietnamese films lag behind Hollywood blockbusters at box office
Audience watch movies in Ho Chi Minh City, April 10, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/ Thu Thuong
Vietnamese movies released during the recent three-day Hung Kings festival holiday were unable to match the box office collections of Hollywood blockbusters on show at the same time.

One of the Vietnamese films, 'Dem Toi Ruc Ro' (The Brilliant Darkness), made more than VND7 billion ($305,810) during the holiday screenings, according to a spokesperson of CJ, the film's distributor.

This year, the commemoration of Hung Kings, the nation's founders, fell on April 10, allowing Vietnamese to enjoy three days (April 9-11) off.

During the holiday screenings, 'Fantastic Beasts 3', part of Harry Potter spin-off film series, made about VND25 billion.

This was in contrast to preceding holidays like Valentine's Day or Tet, Lunar New Year festival, in February, when Vietnamese films were a bigger box office draw.

'The Brilliant Darkness' is the work of Aaron Toronto, an American director who has been living in Vietnam for 16 years. The story revolves around a one-night funeral in Southern Vietnam. The main characters, Toan (played by Kien An) and his wife Gai (played by Phuong Dung) conduct a grand and bustling funeral in accordance with local customs.

When his children arrive for the funeral, the father admits that he owes a gang a large sum of money because of gambling and that gangsters have surrounded the house to prevent him from fleeing.

With each of his children having issues of their own, the funeral unravels into a tragedy as the family’s hidden memories are exposed.

Another Vietnamese film released during the holiday, "'Qua Ben Lam Chi?" (Why Did You Leave?), failed to click big.

It earned just VND750 million or so over the three days. The work was originally scheduled to be filmed four years ago, but it had to be postponed because of the pandemic. The film tells the story of Tuan (played by Thuan Nguyen) and Julie (played by Phuong Titi), a young Vietnamese couple living in the U.S.

Films struggle to retain audiences for a variety of reasons, including an uninteresting storyline and average acting quality, critics said.

The revenue of Vietnamese films declined significantly after Tet and Valentine's holidays. 'Bay Ngot Ngao' (Naked Truth), which debuted in theaters in mid-February, is presently the most successful film in Vietnam, grossing VND82 billion. Films released since have only managed low-to-medium level revenues, such as "Bong De" (The Ancestral) (VND36 billion).

Many filmmakers indicated they didn't have high hopes this time about releasing their work in cinemas, partly because the public hasn't developed a full-fledged habit of going to the movies since Covid 19.

Nguyen Hoang Hai, content director of cinema chain CGV, said most producers have released films at this time to re-create the cinema going habits of Vietnamese audiences.

It is possible that by the end of April domestic films will prosper again, he noted.

 
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