Featuring a female detective who infiltrates a dangerous gang in order to get close to the kingpin, “Tracer” is typical of how contemporary films from Vietnam are becoming more commercially savvy, challenging stereotypes and engaging record audience numbers in the still emerging country.
CJ’s theatrical exhibition giant sister company CJ-CGV became a top player in Vietnam in 2011 when it acquired the largest and most modern cinema chain in the country. Since then the box office has expanded to over $100 million per year and local films have flourished alongside certain Hollywood blockbusters.
In response to growing competition and the expansion of the market, CJ has become increasingly involved in Vietnamese distribution – certain Korean-language titles do well – while also taking the more laborious local production route.
“Tracer” is directed by Cuong Ngo and stars Truoung Ngoc Anh (“Saigon Eclipse”) and Thien Nguyen (“Change of our Lives”).
At the end of 2015 CJ broke boke box office records in Vietnam “Sweet 20,” a remake of its “Miss Granny” body swap comedy, that was co-produced with Vietnam’s HK Film. “Sweet 20” beat “ Star Wars” in December and has made $4.41 million to date.
The company’s earlier Vietnamese film production, 2015’s “Let Hoi Decide,” was the biggest local film of all time in the country.