Ah Boys To Men 3, Jackie Chan and Kingsman lead Chinese New Year movies

Director Jack Neo says he may make another sequel if there is a good script

Kingsman: Secret Service starring Colin Firth (above left) and Taron Egerton made $988,838. -- PHOTO: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
Kingsman: Secret Service starring Colin Firth (above left) and Taron Egerton made $988,838. -- PHOTO: TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
Dragon Blade starring Jackie Chan (above) made $1.43 million. -- PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE
Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen starring Joshua Tan (above) took in $2.8 million. -- PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE

Sex and Jackie Chan's star power are no match for Singapore's favourite Ah Boys at the local box office.

Over the lucrative four-day Chinese New Year long weekend, Ah Boys To Men 3: Frogmen - director Jack Neo's latest film in his popular National Service movie franchise - topped the charts with a cool $2.8 million. The earnings also gave the film the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time for an Asian movie title.

Dragon Blade, even with its A-list cast including Chan, Hollywood stars Adrien Brody and John Cusack and South Korean heart-throb Choi Si Won, was behind in second place with $1.43 million in takings.

The much-hyped erotic drama Fifty Shades Of Grey, which scored a record $901,156 in Singapore for an R21 film's opening weekend, lost momentum in its second week of release. It made No. 6, with $439,000.

Neo, 55, tells Life! that he is "very pleased that a local movie has triumphed", adding that this is "good news for the local film industry".

He is also confident that his latest film will eventually become the highest-grossing local film of all time, beating his previous Ah Boys To Men films, which are currently the record holders as the top two. Ah Boys To Men 2 (2013), the highest-grossing Singaporean film, raked in $7.8 million, while the first Ah Boys To Men (2012) has earned $6.2 million.

Frogmen features the same cast of boys from the first two movies, including Tosh Zhang, Wang Weiliang, Maxi Lim and Joshua Tan, except that the recruits are now in the Naval Diving Unit instead of the army.

In an earlier interview with Life!, Neo had said that he had no plans to make a fourth Ah Boys movie, unless the box-office earnings are good enough to show that audiences are still interested.

Is he convinced now that fans want more of Ah Boys?

He laughs and says: "It's very encouraging that people still like watching Ah Boys onscreen. There is the possibility that I'll make another one, but only if we can come up with a good script and one that is different from the others.

"I don't want to make another Ah Boys movie just for the sake of it. It has to be fresh. But I've received many suggestions from fans."

At the Chinese New Year box office, Wong Jing's Hong Kong gambling flick From Vegas To Macau II starring Chow Yun Fat and Nick Cheung also did well, taking in $1 million, according to its distributor, Shaw Organisation.

According to the Cinematograph Film Exhibitors Association, it comes in at only No. 4, after the well-reviewed action comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service.

But Kingsman distributor Twentieth Century Fox says the movie made $988,838 in its second week of release.

Hong Kong romance drama Triumph In The Skies, the movie spinoff of the hit TVB series of the same name, came in at fifth place, taking in $531,000.

Rounding out the top 10 are local gambling movie King Of Mahjong, stop-motion animation Shaun The Sheep, Hong Kong comedy 12 Golden Ducks and submarine thriller Black Sea.


Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

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