Singapore hopes for New Year’s luck

Hopes high for 'Stupid,' 'Zodiac' B.O. in Jan. 28-31 frame

SINGAPORE — Local exhibs are anxiously awaiting the Lunar New Year weekend Jan. 28-31, traditionally a boffo time at the box office. Hopes are pegged to two homegrown titles — MediaCorp Raintree Pictures’ “I Not Stupid Too” and Cubix Intl.’s “Zodiac — the Race Begins.”

“On average, a Chinese New Year week sees a 40% boost to the typical week’s business,” says Nicholas Yong, managing director of UIP in Singapore.

UIP is opening “I Not Stupid Too,” Jan. 26 on 36 screens. Pic is the much-anticipated follow-up to Jack Neo-helmed “I Not Stupid” which grossed more than $2.5 million following a Chinese New Year-opening in 2002.

“I Not Stupid” clicked with auds in Singapore, Hong Kong and China on the subject of kids from different backgrounds who were pigeonholed as underachievers in super-competitive schools.

“(The film) was a phenomenon in schools and in homes where positive changes resulted,” Raintree Pictures CEO Daniel Yun says.

“Beyond Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, we are looking at Taiwan, China, Korea, Japan and even some Western territories. The first movie was localized to the Singapore education system. ‘I Not Stupid Too’ was produced with a more generic theme of communication and positive reinforcement in education,” Yun says.

Also debuting on 10 screens Jan. 26 is Chinese-lingo “Zodiac,” Singapore’s first feature-length 3D animated pic, the story of how the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac raced to determine their order.

“The premiere of Zodiac is a watershed in the local animation industry’s efforts to become a major player internationally,” says Dr. Christopher Chia, CEO of Singapore’s Media Development Authority, who says the toon has sold to 22 countries.

“Zodiac — the Race Begins” has also garnered marketing support from soft drink company Yeo Hup Seng; collectible coins from the Singapore Mint; and a prequel computer game from Honor Games Intl.

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