Sequels and superheroes dominated local box office last year, Jack Neo's Lion Men movies a letdown

Sequels and superheroes secured eight of the top 10 spots on the list of highest-grossing films in Singapore last year.

Transformers: Age Of Extinction had the biggest slice of the pie with $10.7 million earned. This is the fourth instalment in the series of films based on a line of transforming robot aliens and those creatures show no signs of slowing down. Not surprisingly, film No. 5 is in the works, slated for a 2016 release.

Superhero movies landed at No. 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7. Three of those titles were sequels as well, namely X-Men: Days Of Future Past (No. 2, $9.3 million), The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (No. 3, $8.9 million) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (No. 4, $7.5 million).

The United States' No. 1 movie last year, Guardians Of The Galaxy (US$333.1 million), only took the No. 6 spot in Singapore with $5.9 million.

Asian films had a relatively weak showing, compared to previous years, without a single title breaking into the overall top 10.

In 2013, local film-maker Jack Neo's record-breaking military-themed Ah Boys To Men 2 cracked the overall top 10 in 2013 by making it to No. 2 with $7.9 million earned. Last year, though, his lion-dance-troupe-themed The Lion Men was more bark than bite with a relatively weak $2.1 million in takings. Its sequel, Ultimate Showdown, fared far worse, making $1.1 million. In comparison, Ah Boys To Men 2 had eclipsed its predecessor's take of $6.2 million.

Neo says: "I am a little disappointed and I've been examining why reception to the second film wasn't good. Because lion dance is a more traditional subject matter, it might not have appealed to some. In particular, younger audiences might feel a sense of distance from it."

Apart from Neo, one other figure dominated the Asian top 10 and that is Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen. Three of his movies are on the chart: Kung Fu Jungle (No. 3, $1.8 million), The Monkey King (No. 4, $1.5 million) and Iceman (No. 5, $1.15 million).

This year, expect superheroes and sequels to dominate the box office again. Upcoming big-name instalments include The Avengers: Age Of Ultron assembling Captain America (Chris Evans), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo); Fast And Furious 7; Jurassic World; Mission: Impossible 5; and the most anticipated of them all, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Neo is confident his upcoming film, Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen, will do well against the rest of the fied. He points out that the number of views for the trailer has almost hit 500,000 on the Golden Village Mr Popcorn Facebook page. "You can tell that everybody is very eager to see the movie and that's a good thing."

TOP 10 GROSSING FILMS

1 Transformers: Age Of Extinction - $10.7 million

2 X-Men: Days Of Future Past - $9.3 million

3 The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - $8.9 million

4 Captain America: The Winter Soldier - $7.5 million

5* The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies - $6.0 million

6 Guardians Of The Galaxy - $5.9 million

7* Big Hero 6 - $5.3 million

8 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 - $5 million

9 The Maze Runner - $4.9 million

10* Interstellar - $4.8 million

TOP 10 ASIAN TITLES

1 The Lion Men - $2.1 million

2 From Vegas To Macau - $2 million

3 Kung Fu Jungle - $1.8 million

4 The Monkey King - $1.5 million

5 Iceman - $1.15 million

6 The Lion Men: Ultimate Showdown - $1.1 million

7 Rise Of The Legend - $0.93 million

8* Stand By Me Doraemon - $0.77 million

9 Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno - $0.74 million

10 Filial Party - $0.73 million

Source: Cinematograph Film Exhibitors Association

* Still showing in cinemas