Jack Neo defends product placements in his movies as it is hard to make money

Jack Neo's latest box-office hit Ah Girls Go Army has made $1.67 million at the box office. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Director Jack Neo has defended the number of product placements in his movies, including his latest box-office hit Ah Girls Go Army.

Just like in the instalments of his hugely popular Ah Boys To Men franchise, the Chinese New Year film featured a number of sponsors, including food delivery service Foodpanda, Nippon Paint, skincare company New York Skin Solutions, car marketplace Carro as well as Ogawa, which is known for its massage chairs.

"Honestly, it's really difficult to make money from movies," he said on the latest episode of chat show Hear U Out, hosted by Quan Yifeng.

"If you spend $1 million on production, you need $3 million to break even, and you only start earning from that point. That's why the chances of making money from movies are very low and that's why many productions are supported by the Government."

The 62-year-old added: "That's why we also tend to have more product placements. Where else would the production budget come from, if not from sponsors? They're the ones that balance things out, or we'd never be able to make (movies)."

As of last Monday (Feb 7), the movie, which had a production budget of $2 million, has made $1.67 million at the box office after opening to mixed reviews in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei on Feb 1.

The four Ah Boys To Men movies (2012 to 2017), all directed by Neo, grossed more than $26.8 million in theatres.

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