STEPHEN CHOW knew his film would smash big-time. He knew it so well he even signed papers guaranteeing box office earnings of at least two billion yuan in box office takings, in order to earn in advance of the film’s release so he can begin work on other projects.
Two billion yuan however is more than US$306,000,000, or RM1,250,000,000. That’s right: Stephen Chow knew his film would make no less than a whole billion ringgit before it even hit cinemas.
Within eleven days of domestic release, The Mermaid (美人鱼) took over as top-grossing Chinese film of all-time. One month on, and it now holds over three and a half billion yuan, making it the only film to ever earn over three billion yuan in its home country.
But over here in Malaysia, the story’s pretty much unchanged. Aside from opening with over RM3.4 million and nabbing the record for best opening day for a Chinese film of all-time locally, the film has gone on to take in almost double Ola Bola‘s (2016) earnings at the box office.
Enough with the numbers, what about the film?
A rich businessman buys over a plot of land in order to commence a sea reclamation project. Inhabitants of the space however aren’t keen, and they’re sending over a beautiful young woman to stop the man.
Just when things start to sound a bit like Girlfriend Kontrak (2015) and Langit Cinta (2016), you’re hit with a number of whammies, the most important being that this is a sci-fi-fantasy-romance-comedy about mermaids trying to murder humans.
Zany, quirky, and packed to the brim with absurd humour, The Mermaid is another proud entry to Stephen Chow’s acclaimed catalogue of critically-acclaimed commercial blockbusters.
The film’s titular character is played by a newcomer scouted from a talent contest — Lin Yun, aged eighteen, was picked from over 120,000 participants in August 2014 to become the face of the film. Starring alongside her are popular Chinese actors Deng Chao and Show Luo.
Filmed entirely in China over five months on a budget of US$60.72 million, The Mermaid marks Stephen Chow’s first self-directed film since CJ7 (2008).
Stephen is known nationwide for directing, writing, producing and starring in the BAFTA-nominated Kungfu Hustle (2004), which went on to open wide (with more than 2,500 screens!) in North America.
Make sure to catch The Mermaid in cinemas soon or reminisce with “You Are the Best in the World” by Karen Mok and Adam Cheng, a re-recording of the popular theme from the 1983 TV series The Legend of the Condor Heroes.
With more than RM28,000,000 in the bank thus far, The Mermaid beats Ip Man 3 out of the game and is set to lead this year’s Malaysian box office tally, unless a new Batman, Harry Potter or Avengers sequel gets released sometime soon.
The Mermaid was released on 8 February 2016!