Mixed reviews fail to deter Zhang Yimou fans

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, December 14, 2009
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Famed Chinese director Zhang Yimou's latest film has taken more than 100 million yuan (14.49 million U.S. dollars) at the box office, despite a mixed reception.

The comedy thriller, "A Simple Noodle Story," had taken 101.32 million yuan in the four days since Dec. 10, said a press release from distributor Huaxia Film Distribution Co. Ltd. on Monday.

The last champion was Hollywood blockbuster 2012, which gained 75 million yuan on its first weekend.

"Its performance on the weekend was very good. The tickets were almost sold out Saturday and Sunday," Li Xianping, manager of Ziguang Cinema in Beijing, told Xinhua.

Despite the good start, Li doubted it would overtake the box office of The Founding of a Republic, which screened in September and took 400 million yuan (58 million dollars).

"The timing of its screening is different from The Founding of A Republic," she said.

Known for award-winning films such as "Red Sorghum," "The Story of Qiu Ju" and "To Live," Zhang also directed the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics last year.

"A Simple Noodle Story," a remake of Joel and Ethan Coen's 1984 film "Blood Simple," is his first film in three years and his first comedy-thriller.

More than two third of comments on the film in the latest 50 comments were negative on the film forum of Sohu.com, a leading Chinese portal.

"I only saw beautiful photography and funny jokes. But, to be honest, they were not enough to make a good film. I am disappointed," Luo Xiao, a bank clerk, told Xinhua after seeing the film Monday.

"Zhang paid attention to every detail of his film, except for the spirit. He is too old to direct such a fast-paced thriller with multiple story lines," said Gu Xiaoming, quoted by Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post.

However, it was still drawing the crowds Monday.

"It is the first film by Zhang in three years and I am a fan of the comic stars in it," a woman surnamed Zhao, waiting in the queue at Ziguang Cinema, told Xinhua.

China's film market is entering its annual peak season at the New Year and Spring Festival which falls on Feb. 14 next year. More than 50 movies will be competing in the next 80 days.

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