Thursday, Aug 17, 2017, 9:57 AM CST – China

Cultural Listings

Cinema

New Box Office Champion

The Mermaid, a new romantic comedy by iconic Hong Kong actor and director Stephen Chow, has made Chinese box office history. In just 12 days, it leapfrogged China’s reigning box office champ, Monster Hunt, which had held the record with US$375.6 million in ticket sales. The Mermaid premiered on February 8, 2016, New Year’s Day on the Chinese lunar calendar. Telling the unlikely love story of a rich, polluting businessman and the mermaid who wants to kill him to protect her clan and habitat, the movie blends comedy with themes of human avarice and environmental protection. Its lineup includes mainland actor Deng Chao, actress Zhang Yuqi, Taiwanese actor Show Luo and even Hong Kong director Tsui Hark. Moviegoers immediately recognized The Mermaid as a quintessentially Chow movie, exhibiting the director’s signature traits: exaggerated expressions, absurdist comedic acts and an illogical plot. However, some were still disappointed, claiming that Chow’s inspiration has dried up. On douban.com, one of China’s most popular cultural social networking sites and movie review aggregators, The Mermaid’s ratings have been fairly tepid, reaching a modest 7.3 out of 10.

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