‘Big Shot’ doesn’t win over locals

Film to unspool in Mexico, Blighty during summer

HONG KONG — Like its phenomenal success “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia is counting on a host of bankable stars from different countries to help pack theaters for its Chinese comedy “Big Shot’s Funeral.”

The fact that “Big Shot” is a modern urban comedy, and not a period drama, is supposed to count for something too.

But in Hong Kong, the film has been greeted with a lackluster response and even its token star — veteran actress Rosamund Kwan — wasn’t enough to draw in moviegoers.

In seven weeks, “Big Shot’s Funeral” grossed a mere $93,266.

Contrast this to “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” which boasted Hong Kong stars Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh, but didn’t perform as well as expected at local box offices. It still raked in a reasonable $1.8 million in its first local run, and $256,453 in its second run, before the Oscars.

In Singapore, “Big Shot” has grossed more than in Hong Kong in four weeks, at $106,010. Malaysia, where the movie has also been in theaters for four weeks, has so far taken in $64,378. In two weeks, Taiwan has so far seen $23, 273.

And yet, “Big Shot” drew in unprecedented audiences during its run in China, where the triple-barrelled attraction — director Feng Xiaogang and renowned actors Ge You and Ying Da — helped gross a stunning $4.8 million in mainland theaters.

Along with the three Chinese talents and one Hong Kong one, “Big Shot’s Funeral” also stars North Americans Donald Sutherland and Paul Mazursky.

The film will continue to roll out this month in Thailand, this summer in Mexico, New Zealand and the U.K, and this autumn in Belgium, Sweden and the U.S.