Chinese audiences ‘Desire’ Ma’s pic

Comedy finds success at local box office

BEIJING — A surge in the Chinese B.O. is continuing into the year’s closing stretch as helmer Ma Liwen’s comedy “Desire of the Heart” took in a respectable 20 million yuan ($2.9 million) in its opening weekend.

Pic stars Ge You, Fan Bingbing, Vivian Wu, Guo Tao and Mei Ting, and was produced by Sil-Metropole and Media Asia.

Its success is a surprise because it wasn’t widely advertised and had stiff competition from Dante Lam’s “The Beast Stalker,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Hellboy II: The Golden Army” and Mathieu Kassovitz’s “Babylon A.D.”, all of which breached the 10 million-yuan threshold.

Shooting was reportedly blighted by a clash of personalities between Ge, one of China’s top comic actors, and Ma, who is emerging as one of the country’s strongest femme directors.

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