'Sex and Zen' continues to seduce Hong Kong cinema-goers

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The Independent Culture

Pulses are still racing across Hong Kong as cinema-goers flock to see the record-breaking 3D erotic production Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy.

In what has been the surprise of the cinematic year in Asia, Sex and Zen picked up HK$17 million (1.5 million euros) to the week ending April 17, leaving its box office rivals in the shade.

The film, based on the ancient novel The Carnal Prayer Mat and on a film released in 1991, had been billed as the world's first 3D erotic film, but its producers now admit they might have been beaten to the punch by last year's South Korean release Natali.

It broke the all-time opening day record in Hong Kong upon release last Thursday, picking up HK$2.78 million (245,000 euros) to best the HK$2.63 million (231,000 euros) earned by the James Cameron epic Avatar when it open last year. The film has also proven a hit with audiences in Taiwan, where it has up until now collected NT17 million (403,000 euros), while it is set for release in South Korea on May 12, and then France, Italy and India in June.

Due to its content Sex and Zen won't be seen in China (outside the private DVD stalls) and so it was left to the historical drama The Warring States to entertain audiences over the past week.

The Jin Chen-directed epic - starring China's Sun Honglei and Hong Kong's Francis Ng as rival military leaders - picked up 48.1 million yuan (five million euros) over the past week.

That was too good for Hollywood's 3D animation Rio, which picked up 28.8 million yuan (three million euros) over the week.

The big release in China this week is Hong Kong director Wilson Yip's reworking of the 1987 classic A Chinese Ghost Story.

Japan meanwhile saw the debut of the anime thriller Detective Conan: Quarter of Silence - 15th in the series - which picked up more than US$6.5 million (4.4 million euros) to out-muscle the Jack Black vehicle Gulliver's Travels, which picked up US$2.8m (two million euros).


The Warring States: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1u5eB5F0M6o

A Chinese Ghost Story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87iPPtS_jVo