Cinema box office in Hong Kong rebounded over the recent Chinese New Year holiday period. They failed to recover to pre-pandemic levels, but local titles performed strongly.
Data from Hong Kong Box Office Limited showed gross revenues between Saturday and Tuesday (Jan 21-24, 2023) amounted to HK$50.89 million ($6.52 million). That is a 19% improvement on the equivalent four-day period in 2020, when COVID was just starting to arrive in the city and revenues fell to HK$42.89 million ($5.50 million). But the number was still 17% below the 2019 figure of HK$61.47 million ($7.88 million).
Cinemas in the territory were closed during Lunar New Year holidays in both 2021 and 2022 due to the government’s anti-COVID measures.
Unlike mainland China, Hong Kong has no film import quotas and does not operate blackout periods when foreign films cannot be released. The holiday period chart for Hong Kong contains a mix of local, U.S. and Japanese and none of the films that were released in the mainland for the holiday season.
Two Hong Kong-produced topped the box office. With HK$24.4 million ($3.12 million) in four days was Edko’s “A Guilty Conscience,” driving it to a cumulative of HK$32.4 million ($4.15 million). It came in ahead of Emperor Motion Pictures’ “Everything Under Control” with HK$8.8 million ($1.13 million) over the holidays and a HK$11.1 million ($1.42 million) running total.
Japanese animated hit “The First Slam Dunk” continued its success. It earned HK$6.60 million over the holiday to lift its cumulative to HK$28.1 million ($3.60 million). Another holdover, “Avatar: The Way of Water” earned HK$4.39 million in fourth place for a running total of HK$133 million ($17.1 million).
The Donnie Yen-starring wuxia fantasy “Sakra,” which was made with Hong Kong and mainland Chinese elements, went directly to streaming in mainland China, but released in cinemas in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia and Singapore. In Hong Kong, it landed in fifth place with HK$1.57 million ($201,000) and a cumulative of HK$2.51 million ($321,000).
Nickelodeon animation “Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank” took sixth place with HK$1.47 million.
Seventh place belonged to documentary “To My Nineteen-Year-Old Self,” a documentary reminiscence about Hong Kong by director Mabel Cheung. It earned HK$1.06 million over the holidays and has a cumulative of HK$6.73 million ($863,000).
“A Guilty Conscience,” follows the aftermath of a manslaughter case in which a barrister’s mistake lands his supermodel client in jail. The path to an appeal, however, seems like justice itself is on trial.
Writer and director Jack Ng made his feature directing debut with the drama. His previous track record as a writer includes Edko’s 2021 hit “Anita” and “Cold War II.”