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Hong Kong's stars hit the big screen for Chinese New Year

Traditionally, Chinese New Year is a time to kick back and relax, but you wouldn't think so if you caught a glimpse of Hong Kong's film studio bosses this week.

Fortunes - and careers - are won and lost over the next week or so as the city's biggest box office period plays out, spurred on annually by "hor sui pin" - or "celebratory New Year films" - so those studio heads have every reason to be nervous.

These kind of productions are a distinctly Hong Kong phenomenon.

The basic rules of the game are they have to feature as many of the city's film stars as possible, along with a casting call of almost anyone who might have been in the news over the past 12 months. They have to be funny. And - above all - they have to be aimed fair and square at the family audience as Chinese New Year is, of course, the time when families come together, whatever their problems throughout the rest of the year might be.

Last year's undisputed New Year champ was 72 Tenants of Prosperity starring local funnyman Eric Tsang. It reaped almost HK$40 million (3.7 million euros) over the holiday period (compared to HK$15 million - or 1.4 million euros - for its chief rival, All's Well Ends Well 2010) so it's little wonder that Tsang is back this year with the candy-coated I Love HK. Like last year's effort, it's a film that's all about a local community banding together for the common good.

Up against Tsang and crew are All's Well Ends Well 2011 - the fifth installment now in the franchise - and Sandra Ng in the super hero-themed comedy Mr. and Mrs. Incredible.

All's Well has its heart set on winning over the romantics around town - it's set around the world of cosmetics and wedding makeovers - while Mr. and Mrs. Incredible takes a little more of a chance with the New Year genre, opting for laughs, yes, but with a little bit of sci-fi trickery thrown in for good measure.

"Hong Kong people want to see the stars at Chinese New Year," Tsang said at the premiere of I Love HK.
"And that's what these films are all about - they are a celebration of Hong Kong and its people."

Watch the trailers:

I Love HK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClHguErL9DA
All's Well Ends Well 2011: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmbHgCq7CFM
Mr. and Mrs. Incredible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYPipOmgoRY