Hong Kong Film Never Dies #11: “If records refuse to be broken, shatter them.”

Feature by   |  Nov 14, 2022

The local box office figures for and healthy competition between the 4 most popular Hong Kong films of 2022 have not been seen since Hong Kong cinema’s golden age in the 1980s and early 90s, when superstars like Stephen Chow, Chow Yun-Fat, Jackie Chan and Jet Li regularly competed for box office supremacy.

While three of these ‘Big Four’ are still in release, they are now in the final stretch of their theatrical runs. So let’s take a look at their box office numbers (as of 11 November, 2022):

• ‘Warriors of Future’ (明日戰記): HK$79.9 million so far
• ‘Table for Six’ (飯戲攻心): HK$74.7 million so far
• ‘Mama’s Affair’ (阿媽有咗第二個): HK$40.3 million so far
• ‘Chilli Laugh Story’ (闔家辣): HK$33 million

These figures may not mean a lot to those who do not pay attention to Hong Kong film’s box office numbers, but together, the four films have earned a place in HK cinema history for the following reasons:

• For the first time since 1995, four local films have made more than HK$30 million at the box office. The local films that earned more than HK$30 million 27 years ago were Jackie Chan’s ‘Rumble in the Bronx’ and ‘Thunderbolt’ (first and second place respectively), Stephen Chow’s ‘Sixty Million Dollar Man’ (third place), Andy Lau’s ‘Full Throttle’ and Leslie Cheung’s ‘The Chinese Feast’.
• For the first time since 1992, three local films have made more than HK$40 million at the box office. The three local films that earned more than HK$40 million 30 years ago were (in order): ‘Justice, My Foot!’, ‘All’s Well, Ends Well’ and ‘Royal Tramp’, all starring Stephen Chow.
• For the first time since 2016, two local films have made more than HK$50 million at the box office. The two local films that earned more than HK$50 million 6 years ago were Chow Yun-Fat and Aaron Kwok’s ‘Cold War II’ and Stephen Chow’s ‘The Mermaid’.
• For the very first time in history, a local film has made more than HK$70 million at the box office. In fact, not one, but two films (‘Warriors of Future’ and ‘Table for Six’) have successfully reached this incredible milestone.

Warriors of Future

The top 2 films of 2022 so far, ‘Warriors of Future’ and ‘Table for Six’, have individually broken records.

Warriors of Future’ (starring Louis Koo, Lau Ching-Wan, Philip Keung and Carina Lau) became the first ever Hong Kong film to take over HK$70 million at the local box office. In doing so, it smashed the records held since 2016 by ‘Cold War II’ (HK$66.2 million) and ‘Train to Busan’ (HK$68 million) to become both the highest grossing Hong Kong film and the highest grossing Asian film at the HK box office. It now looks almost certain to reach HK$80 million at the end of its theatrical run.

Table for Six’ (starring Dayo Wong, Stephy Tang, Louis Cheung, Ivana Wong, Lin Min-Chen and Peter Chan Charm-Man) has overtaken all of Stephen Chow’s films to become the all-time highest grossing local comedy. Previously, the top-five grossing Hong Kong comedies at the local box office were (in order): ‘Kung Fu Hustle’, ‘Shaolin Soccer’, ‘The Mermaid’, ‘CJ7’ and ‘Justice, My Foot’, all of which are Stephen Chow films. At one point, ‘Table for Six’ even looked like a serious contender to challenge ‘Warriors of Future’ for the all-time local box office throne but it will now likely have to settle for second place, which is no mean feat for a ‘little’ family comedy.

Table For Six

Hong Kong film never dies! 2022 proves beyond doubt that Hong Kong cinema is NOT dead!

(This is the second of a three-part series looking at 2022, Hong Kong cinema’s year of miracles.)