Heroes at the box office

From Singapore's top 10 highest-grossing films last year, five spots were taken up by superhero blockbusters

Singaporeans simply cannot get enough of superheroes at the movies.

Out of the list of Singapore's top 10 highest-grossing films last year, five, including the top two places, were taken up by superhero blockbusters.

In 2016, superheroes locked down six of the top 10 spots.

Sitting pretty at No. 1 for last year was Thor: Ragnarok, which took in $8.1 million, while second place went to Wonder Woman, which made $7.9 million.

Thor: Ragnarok is the third instalment in the Marvel movie franchise about Norse god Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth), while Wonder Woman stars Israeli actress Gal Gadot in the titular role.

The third place went to Vin Diesel's speed-racing movie franchise, Fast & Furious 8 ($7.72 million), but the fourth place went to yet another superhero offering - Justice League ($7.5 million), the ensemble film that banded together several DC Comics heroes such as Batman and Aquaman.

Spider-Man: Homecoming, which stars British actor Tom Holland playing a younger Spider-Man, made it to No. 6 ($7.3 million), while Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 ($6.4 million) took the eighth spot on the list.

  • OVERALL TOP 10 MOVIES OF LAST YEAR

    1. Thor: Ragnarok ($8.1 million)

    2. Wonder Woman ($7.9 million)

    3. Fast & Furious 8 ($7.7 million)

    4. Justice League ($7.5 million)

    5. Beauty And The Beast ($7.5 million)

    6. Spider-Man: Homecoming ($7.3 million)

    7. Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle ($6.9 million; still showing)

    8. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 ($6.4 million)

    9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi ($6.1 million; still showing)

    10. Transformers: The Last Knight ($6.15 million)

  • TOP 10 ASIAN MOVIES OF LAST YEAR

    1. Ah Boys To Men 4 ($5.05 million)

    2. Kung Fu Yoga ($3.6 million)

    3. Chasing The Dragon ($2.07 million)

    4. Journey To The West: Demons Strike Back ($1.6 million)

    5. Shock Wave ($1.5 million)

    6. Bleeding Steel ($1.47 million)

    7. The Battleship Island ($1.46 million)

    8. Take 2 ($1.39 million)

    9. Wolf Warrior II ($1.33 million)

    10. The Fortune Handbook ($1.09 million)

    •Source: Cinematograph Film Exhibitors Association, Golden Village Pictures

Rounding out the list are films that are either part of major franchises or are reboots of old classics.

Beauty And The Beast ($7.5 million), which is at No. 5, is almost a shot-for-shot live-action remake of Disney's beloved animated 1991 film, while in seventh place Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle ($6.9 million) is Dwayne Johnson's update on the 1995 fantasy starring the late Robin Williams.

For all the love that Singaporeans showered on Hollywood blockbusters, less poured forth for Asian cinema as not a single Asian title made it to the Top 10 list - the second consecutive year that this has happened.

On the Top 10 Asian movies list last year, the champion is perhaps no surprise. Home-grown film-maker Jack Neo remains Singapore's box-office king with Ah Boys To Men 4, the latest instalment in his hit national service movie franchise, making $5.05 million.

In 2016, he claimed the No. 3 and No. 4 positions on the Asian list with the two-parter nostalgic drama, Long Long Time Ago.

That is the least profitable of all the Ah Boys movies so far: The first film marched off with $6.2 million; the second movie earned $7.8 million, making it the highest-grossing local film of all time and; the third instalment, Frogmen, swam away with $7.6 million.

Still, his army boys were popular enough last year to beat the likes of Hong Kong A-listers such as Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen and Andy Lau.

Chan's Kung Fu Yoga, an action adventure that takes place in India, is in second place with $3.65 million in ticket sales, while period actioner Chasing The Dragon, starring Yen and Lau, came in third with $2.07 million.

Neo, 59, says: "Singaporeans love the national service theme because many people can relate to it.

"Ah Boys To Men 4 was the most challenging movie I have had to shoot because of all the armoured vehicles involved, but the healthy box-office result is indication that audiences want more. When the timing is right, I will make Ah Boys To Men 5."

While the top Asian film here in 2016 was South Korean zombie horror flick Train To Busan, the only South Korean film to make it to the list last year was The Battleship Island at No. 7. The period war movie stars K-drama idol Song Joong Ki of Descendants Of The Sun (2016) fame.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 11, 2018, with the headline 'Heroes at the box office'. Print Edition | Subscribe