Lulu nabs $650,000 in first weekend

Lulu goes shopping for menswear with ST style reporter Alyssa Woo.
Michelle Chong plays the titular role in Lulu The Movie, which she also writes and directs.
Michelle Chong plays the titular role in Lulu The Movie, which she also writes and directs.PHOTO: HUAT FILMS

The rags-to-riches story of a girl from China who comes to Singapore with big dreams and an even bigger hairdo seems to have struck a chord with local moviegoers.

The comedy Lulu The Movie has earned about $650,000 in its first weekend on the back of 29 screens, making it the third highest-grossing movie over that period, ending last Sunday.

It was beaten by two Hollywood studio productions, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (in its second week at No. 1) and the just-released Disney animated feature Moana, at No. 2.

But on a per-screen average, the film - written, directed and starring Michelle Chong - beat Moana. Lulu earned about $22,000 a screen, compared with $15,751 for the Disney picture.

If revenue from sneak previews on Nov 18 and 19 are included, Lulu's box-office takings rise to $700,000.

The good turnout validates the marketing strategy taken by Lulu's maker, Huat Films: to use personal appearances at getai (street theatre) and bilingual posters to make sure Mandarin speakers were aware of the movie, based on a character created on the English- language TV sketch show, The Noose.

Ms Diana Foo, 31, a producer with Huat Films, attributes the film's strong performance to positive word-of-mouth.

"We have had lots of good feedback from viewers actively sharing on social media," she says.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Lulu nabs $650,000 in first weekend'. Print Edition | Subscribe