HONG KONG – Big-budget, baseball-themed, period drama “Kano” took US$2.1 million in its opening weekend at the Taiwan box office.

The figures appear to underline the continued success of taking trips down a certain kind of Taiwanese memory lane, and they keep alive the current success of commercial film-making in the island territory.

Released on Feb. 27 through VieVision Pictures the film claimed NT$22 million (US$725,000) in Taipei and NT$65m million (US$2.14 million) throughout Taiwan.

Based on real events in the 1930s, the film tells a story of how a Taiwanese, multi-ethnic baseball team took on and beat champions from Japan, which was then occupying Taiwan as a colonial power.

The film was made by several of the creative team behind “Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale,” including “Seediq Bale” star Umin Boya, who directed “Kano,” screenwriter Wei Te-sheng, his production company ARS Film Production and Wei and Jimmy Huang as producers.

Production budget was set at NT$250 million (US$8.4 million).

Relations with Japan are these days much more cordial and “Kano” stars Masatoshi Nagase, Takao Osawa, Maki Sakai and Togo Igawa.

The film will next play at the Osaka Asian Film Festival (March 7-16) in Japan and is headed for commercial release in Hong Kong on March 27. Taiwan’s Ablaze Image handles foreign sales.
Taiwan film makers have increasingly focused on commercial film making and have enjoyed a string of recent hits. Other recent successes have included “Zone Pro Site” and “David Loman” with nostalgic 2011 “You Are The Apple of My Eye” and “Cape No. 7” preceding them.