Ang Lee's new spy thriller Lust, Caution, has taken a
remarkable 40 million yuan (5.4 million U.S. dollars) at Chinese
mainland box offices in its first four days, proving to be a hit
despite significant cuts to meet mainland censorship
The film opened on the mainland on Nov. 1. "It is possible that
the movie's box office would top 100 million yuan given the current
fervor among the audience," said a source with the China Film Group
Corporation, the mainland distributor.
Set during World War II in Shanghai, Lust, Caution,
starring by novice mainland actress Tang Wei and Hong Kong actor
Tony Leung Chiu-wai, is about a sexually charged relationship
between an undercover female student activist and the
Japanese-allied intelligence chief.
"The movie has so far had the best box office returns of all the
movies shown in our theatre over the past three months," said Chen
Ji, a manager with the Oriental New Century Theatre in Beijing.
Chen said the movie had reaped 500,000 yuan for his theatre over
the past five days.
He said the box office takings lagged behind Zhang Yimou's
Curse of the Golden Flower shown at the end of last year,
which brought in more than 700,000 yuan in five days for his
"But still, Lust, Caution is excellent in terms of
market performance considering that it is a love story and its
target audience might be smaller than martial arts blockbusters or
war epics," Chen said.
Zhang's Curse of the Golden Flower earned 250 million
yuan, topping the mainland box office in 2006.
Lee's movie, called Se, Jie in Chinese, has been a hot
topic among the mainland media and the public long before its
official screening here due to its bold sex scenes. The movie has
been given the restrictive NC-17 label in the United States,
banning viewers under 17.
In order to get approval for release on the mainland, Lee
himself cut about seven minutes from the movie. Despite being shorn
of some of its sexual scenes, the film's mainland version still won
acclaim from most audiences.
"It is a pity that the film was cut, but I think the cutting
doesn't affect my understanding of the story. It still has its
strength," said a viewer surnamed Liu.
"The movie is typical of Ang Lee's style, reserved but powerful.
It gives a vivid and in-depth description of the complicated
feelings between men and women," another viewer surnamed Meng
The film was voted 4.5 out of five points by 3,017 Internet
users, according to a poll conducted by the movie channel at www.
Lust, Caution has proved to be a box office success in
Taiwan and Hong Kong since it opened in September.
It won the top Golden Lion prize at the Venice Film Festival in
September, Lee's second win in Venice following Brokeback
Mountain in 2005. Enditem
(Xinhua News Agency November 7, 2007)