Vietnam showbiz getting back on its feet after Covid

By Mai Thu Phuc   January 6, 2021 | 05:00 am PT
Vietnam showbiz getting back on its feet after Covid
People watch ‘Chi Muoi Ba 2’ (Sister Thirteen 2) at a cinema in HCMC on Jan 1, 2021. Photo courtesy of Galaxy.
While entertainment venues remain closed in many countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam’s cinemas and theaters enjoyed a good start to 2021.

According to Box Office Vietnam, movie revenues in the first three days of the new year were worth VND32 billion ($1.4 million) as 225 cinemas opened during the holidays.

Theaters in HCMC quickly sold all their tickets for the first three days of the year.

In cinemas, there have been three new releases, ‘Vo Sinh Dai Chien’ (Battle of Pupils), ‘Monster Hunter’ and animation film ‘Dragon Rider’.

‘Chi Muoi Ba: 3 Ngay Sinh Tu’ (Sister Thirteen: Three Deadly Days), directed by Vo Thanh Hoa, which released on December 23, has topped the list of highest grossing movies in the new year by a huge margin.

Last week, it raked in VND17 billion, which took its total collections in the two weeks since its release to VND62 billion.

Its co-producer Thu Trang said: "I was extremely worried because its premiere was when the pandemic was at its worse, but after nine days I can finally breathe a sigh of relief."

Monster Hunter starring Milla Jovovich and directed by Pay W.S. Anderson, was the second biggest grosser with more than VND6.5 billion.

In third place was Soul, Disney and Pixar’s latest animated movie, which has garnered over VND5 billion since its premiere on Christmas.

Theaters see revival

The Gioi Tre theater, which has a capacity of 350 seats and stages two plays a day, sold out tickets several days before the premieres of new productions this year during the long New Year weekend holiday.

They include comedy-thriller ‘Hon Ma Co Dao Hat’ (The Singing Spirit), comedy-historical fiction ‘Thanh Xa-Bach Xa’ (Green Snake - White Snake) and family drama ‘Chung Ta Thuoc Ve Nhau’ (We Belong Together).

Its manager, Ngoc Hung, had been concerned about ticket sales because of new Covid cases in HCMC at the end of 2020. Through the year, theaters had managed to attract few people despite staging hit plays.

He said: "It was not until the [New Year] holiday that I believed that theater was not forgotten by audiences. This is a good sign ... for the ... Lunar New Year." The Lunar New Year falls on February 12 this year.

Idecaf, one of the top theaters in HCMC, also sold out tickets many days before the holidays began.

Huynh Anh Tuan, owner of Idecaf Drama Troupe, revealed that the number of shows were reduced to allow the main actors such as Thanh Loc and Huu Chau to take a break.

Theater 5B Vo Van Tan also attracted larger crowds than usual. On January 1 its play ‘Tien La So 1’ ((Money First) was 75 percent full.

Youth Theater of Vietnam’s variety show ‘Thank 2021’ and mini comedy series ‘Toc Do’ (Speed) on Jan 1 and 2 each attracted an audience of 400.

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