27 October 2016
Chow Yun-fat (center) steals the limelight in Cold War 2, which also stars Aaron Kwok (right) and Tony Leung. Photo: Facebook/Cold War 2
Chow Yun-fat (center) steals the limelight in Cold War 2, which also stars Aaron Kwok (right) and Tony Leung. Photo: Facebook/Cold War 2

Cold War 2 set to break box office records this hot summer

Memories are golden – and that is why they sell.

The hugely popular Pokemon GO owes much of its appeal to its ability to call up memories of our care-free youth and of the cute Japanese comic character.

The same thing holds true for Cold War 2, which is on its way to become the No. 1 box office hit of all time for Chinese-language films in Hong Kong, breaking the record set by the 2011 Taiwanese romantic flicker You Are the Apple of My Eye, which grossed HK$61.85 million in the city.

Movies worth seeing once are worth having a sequel, again because of the memories factor.

All right, mushy romantic movies from Taiwan almost always sell well in our city, again because they remind us of our puppy love and campus romance.

But so do macho action movies. 

And what could more macho that Cold War 2, which assembles a powerful all-male cast, in the tradition of Internal Affairs, and plays up headline-hogging conflicts involving the police force, the security bureau and the Independet Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

With the current political climate, especially with all the news focusing on the ICAC and the Causeway Bay booksellers, this movie can very well give viewers the illusion of reality.

It’s probably this visceral grip on the viewers that makes the movie more successful at the box office than its first episode, which has a better and flawless plot.

While the two award-winning lead actors – Aaron Kwok as the police commissioner and Tony Leung as his deputy – deliver outstanding performances in this movie, it’s Chow Yun-fat who steals the limelight.

Chow, who is said to be the people’s choice for the next chief executive because of his refreshing down-to-earth friendliness and high regard for local culture, has been rarely seen in local movies over the past two decades, having shifted his acting career to Hollywood.

But the man, who came to be known as the God of Gamblers in the ’80s (although he recently admitted he doesn’t play Texas Hold’em), plays the role of Justice Oswald Kan (who reminds us of the great barrister Sir Oswald Cheung).

His famous movie line, after knowing that he was appointed to the committee to rubberstamp the proposal to remove Kwok in favor of Leung – “I will spend the rest of my life serving you (Leung) and you alone”.

Since it opened on July 8, Cold War 2 has earned nearly HK$58 million as of Monday.

But given a daily box office of HK$700,000, and a weekend take of over HK$1 million, it is poised to break the local record by weekend.

In fact, the movie could hit HK$70 million this summer because it is likely to be shown throughout August, given all the favorable reviews.

Cold War 2 is also doing well in China, where it has grossed 650 million yuan (HK$756 million, US$97.42 million) so far despite a 30 percent drop in box office earnings this year.

The less than exciting box office earnings in China this summer is not so much due to the quality of the movies as to the fact that online movie ticket discounts were not offered this year, according to industry watchers.

Last year, entertainment giants such as Alibaba Group’s Taobao offered tickets at 9.9 yuan each, much lower than the minimum ticket price of 30 yuan, to entice more users.

Taobao recorded a 1 billion yuan deficit as a result of movie promotions last year.

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EJ Insight writer

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