New films face losses cinemas ordered to close amid new COVID-19 cases
By Thu Anh
HCM CITY — Cinemas in Ha Noi and HCM City, the two biggest markets in the country, closed on May 3 until further notice after new COVID-19 community cases were confirmed.
Vietnamese filmmakers are expected to face losses after the national holiday four-day weekend which began on April 30.
Three Vietnamese films, Thien Thần Ho Menh (The Guardian), Trạng Tí (Child Master) and Lật Mặt:48 Giờ (Face Off: 48 Hours), have temporarily stopped screening.
Thien Thần Ho Menh, released on April 29, has earned VNĐ26.7 billion (US$1.15 million) in ticket sales. Its competitor, Trạng Tí, earned VNĐ15.3 billion ($657,000) after four days of release, according to the Box Office Vietnam, which provides ticket sale reports of film productions in Viet Nam.
Thien Thần Ho Menh is a thriller by Vietnamese-American director Victor Vũ, a graduate of Loyola Marymount University in the US.
The film features three young women who feed and dress life-sized baby dolls as if they are living things.
Its trailer, which features haunting scenes, has attracted more than 103,000 views on YouTube.
Director Vũ combined Vietnamese and Hollywood styles in his film.
The film’s producer, Tfilm Entertainment, said they are working with foreign partners to release Thien Thần Ho Menh in 12 countries, such as Australia, Canada, Hungary, France, Ireland, the UK and US.
Trạng Tí is a new production by blockbuster director Phan Gia Nhật Linh.
The film is about Vietnamese folk stories. It features four child characters called Tí (Mouse), Sửu (Buffalo), Dần (Tiger) and Mẹo (Cat), who live in a remote village and use their intelligence to protect villagers.
The soundtrack is composed by Đuc Trí, a graduate of the Berkelee College of Music in the US. Trí uses folk music from people in the northern and southern regions to highlight the film’s theme.
Trạng Tí was postponed twice due to the Covid-19 outbreak. It was first scheduled to be released in cinemas in May last year. Its release during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday period in February was also cancelled.
Its trailer on YouTube has attracted more than one million viewers.
The film’s producer, Studio68, and its partners spent VNĐ43 billion ($1.85 million) on the production.
In a recent interview with HCM City-based Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper, movie star and director-producer Ngo Thanh Van, owner of Studio68, said: “I’m very sad. I have no idea about my profits from ticket sales.”
Lật Mặt:48 Giờ was released two weeks ago and earned VNĐ153 billion ($6.8 million) at the box office. The film earned VNĐ19.2 billion ($825,600) in just four days after release from April 29 to May 2.
“To live in the unfortunate time of COVID-19 is to always prepare for the worst scenarios,” said the film’s producer Lý Hải, owner of Lý Hải Production Studio.
Lật Mặt:48 Giờ features a family trying to escape from a gang that is chasing them.
The action comedy highlights themes about love and family, starring veteran actors Võ Thanh Tam, Huỳnh Đong and Ốc Thanh Van in the main roles.
Producer Hải invited fight choreographers Hải Bui of Viet Nam and Kim Chung Min of South Korea to take part in the film.
“Lật Mặt:48 Giờ contains thrilling action scenes filmed at floating markets, and on boats and ferries,” said Trần Hoang Anh, a fan in HCM City. VNS