Fit Lover Conquers the Chinese Box Office


Poster for Love, Actually...I mean, Fit Lover

Okay, so I said I would probably never post on Fit Lover again, but when have I ever said anything like that which turned out to be true?

My gut instinct was right. Women ARE more powerful in China, at least when it comes to deciding what to see. Fit Lover (Call for Love 2) has taken in 25 million yuan (3.6 million USD) for its first weekend, greater than the sum total of Desires of the Heart, The Underdog Knight and Beast Stalker/Witness. Three million may not sound like much, but consider this: it’s a little over a third of Red Cliff’s record making first weekend splash in Japan, the holy grail of Asian markets. In this war between a complete chick flick, a quirky romantic comedy, a quirky action film, and a run-of-the-mill action film, the chick flick won hands-down.

Not only were people pleasantly surprised at Fan Wei’s performance, but they also enjoyed Deng Chao, Huang Lei, and Alec Su’s performances, which they felt were a step outside the characters they usually play.

Because of the success of this film, theaters are already planning additional showings and increasing screen count for it. Long lines indicated that this still probably had long box office legs, even after Mei Lang Fang (or if you prefer, the cheesy English title, Forever Enthralled) begins showing.

As reported earlier, a third Call for Love movie is in the works. They are keeping in mind that this movie was a hit largely in part due to its star power and will be following the same lines for the third movie. I have no idea how there could be a third one, because they had ten women for one guy in Call for Love 1 and twelve guys for one girl in this movie, so it seems like there’s really no other direction to go, but who knows?

In a way this kind of sucks, because this was probably the least in terms of quality of the four movies. It doesn’t exactly encourage budding artsy directors that may actually produce classics.

I am glad though, because this movie signals that women can make or break a film, and that they should keep getting hot guys in the future. Fan Wei may have been a pleasant surprise but please, people went to the theaters for their favorite hot actors. Hopefully this can set a trend to where gone are the days when Chinese male directors like Zhang Yimou so fastidiously chose their female leads, producing beautiful stars one after the other, but completely neglected to care about the looks of the male leads…seemingly picking them at random. This sounds shallow, and it is, but honestly China’s drama academy is so picky about the actors they allow, and usually mainland Chinese do go through four years of that, that I’m not worried about the acting skills.

I just hope that it doesn’t encourage casting directors to keep using the same old actors over and over, because that’s a serious problem with China. Lack of initiative to find new stars (bless Hai Yan’s heart for being one of the few), but relying on the old ones way too much because it’s more of a guaranteed money-maker. If this movie hits the coveted 100 million RMB mark, like with Painted Skin, another movie where the director wasn’t so hot, but it’s cast got the moviegoers to see it, then that is bad news.

But also on the upside, hopefully it does let China appreciate simple, fun comedies. China’s had artsy movies for what seemed like for way too long. There should be diversity in Chinese films to accompany the increase in demand that is happening so rapidly nowadays with the Chinese film industry. The worldwide economic downturn is not stopping them from building more and more theaters in China, and it’s not going to stop an increasing amount of Chinese citizens able to reach middle class status where they’re willing to fork out money and enjoy going to the movies.

I know I’m contradicting myself completely probably from earlier posts about shallow vs non-shallow things, but eh, that’s my way. I just write on gut instinct and think afterward.


6 thoughts on “Fit Lover Conquers the Chinese Box Office

  1. I agree with the need for fresh faces in terms of actors/actresses. Tired of seeing the same stars being recycled in a lot of the movies. Most of the Chinese movies I have seen, for example, has Tony Leung in it. Not that I don’t like him or anything.

    There’s so much talent around, kind of a shame China hasn’t started some form of recruiting sector. I thought it was really refreshing to see a new actress like Tang Wei in Lust, Caution. She’s talented and very pretty.

    As for romantic comedies, I’m all for it. Everyone loves that genre. Romantic comedies is one of the biggest reasons why Hollywood is so popular all over the world.

  2. Actually, To Call A Stranger is that American horror movie with the baby sitter. I wouldn’t touch it while I was in the US so I had to forcibly prevent my cousins from watching it. :p

  3. I’m sort of wondering if they’re doing it on purpose with the posters, like parodies, because they have three in total, and one looks like the poster for Ocean 11/12. I can’t really place the other one with anything though, so maybe not.

    I don’t remember that movie…honestly two years ago I don’t think I knew very much about Chinese entertainment or movies. But I’d like to think it’s getting better.

  4. Haha – I glanced at the poster and was all…what!? Chinese version of Love, Actually? They totally stole that. Wish I was in China so I could go watch it. When I was there a couple years ago all the movies coming out really sucked. The biggest one showing in Changsha was To Call A Stranger, heh.

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