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Wholesome twin act woos auds

Vampire laffer 'Effect' hoping to cause B.O. splash

HONG KONG — You might be tempted to call the two girls who make up pop duo Twins Hong Kong’s equivalent of the Olsen girls. Except they’re not.

The Twins are two women in their 20s who aren’t twins, and Emperor Multimedia Group is banking on the fact that their fans will follow them to the movie theaters this summer, in the $6 million vampire action comedy “The Twins Effect.”

The movie, which opened in Hong Kong June 24, stars H.K.-born Gillian Chung, 22, and Canadian-born Charlene Choi, 20, who actually are not even related.

But that seems not to matter much, thanks to an image of pale-faced wholesomeness and perennial happiness that has won them fans across Hong Kong. The girls are among the highly successful acts managed by the Emperor Entertainment Group (like EMG, also part of the Emperor Group), thanks to large merchandising and marketing blitzes for their albums and this movie. Like boy and girl bands here and elsewhere, the girls, both former models, were packaged to create the group two years ago. Their success has even spawned a boy-band equivalent.

Following the well-trodden path of Hong Kong pop stars from singing to acting, the Twins are maintaining their exposure by making movies. “The Twins Effect” is Chung’s fifth movie project and Choi’s eighth.

“This will attract a lot of teenagers who are already fans,” says Raymond Liu, sales and distribution manager at EMG. “Parents have allowed the Twins to become idols for their kids because they have such a nice image. So parents are fans, too.”

The pair have appeared together in less hyped movies, such as “Summer of Love” and “Just One Look.” They also work separately, Choi in “Diva Ah Hey” and “My Wife Is 18” and Chung in “If You Care.”

EMG’s latest film is a push to capitalize on the duo’s popularity locally, while using Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen for more international appeal.

“The Twins Effect” is directed by Dante Lam, who last helmed fantasy romance “Tiramisu” — with action sequences choreographed by Yen. The Twins star alongside Ekin Cheng, Edison Chen, Josie Ho and Anthony Wong, with a special appearance by Chan. The movie follows the two girls as they battle vampires keen on taking over the world.

The movie will open in Singapore, Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand in July and Korea in September. Universal has distribution rights in the U.K. and Australia, with Columbia TriStar handling U.S. distribution.

EMG also will release “The Medallion” in August in the U.S., and possibly Asia at the same time. The $35 million actioner stars Jackie Chan, Lee Evans and Claire Forlani, with Gordan Chan directing and Sammo Hung as action director.

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