Chinese disaster film “The Captain” draws crowds in Singapore, with the film opening at number two in the Singapore box office behind Hollywood blockbuster Joker.
Since The Captain opened on Oct. 3 in Singapore on 22 screens, it has seen a “strong performance,” grossing 300,000 Singapore dollars (US$220,000) in box office revenue and 30,000 admissions in one week, said a spokesperson from Clover Films, a regional movie producer and distributor based in Singapore, recently.
“It has also been generating excellent word of mouth and we expect the movie to continue its strong run at the cinemas,” said the spokesperson.
Directed by Hong Kong director Andrew Lau, the film portrays one of the most miraculous emergency landings in the contemporary history of Chinese aviation.
It is based on the true story of Liu Chuanjian, a Sichuan Airlines captain who brought 119 passengers and nine crew members home safely after his plane’s windshield cracked and eventually shattered on its way from Chongqing in southwest China to Lhasa in May 2018.
Among those who were the earliest to catch The Captain in cinemas was Singaporean auxiliary police officer Cheng Je Han, 28, who watched it with his girlfriend after finding about the movie on social media.
He said he gained new knowledge about this historical incident, which he did not know about previously. “The Captain is the only movie from China which I have watched recently… It was action-packed and I will recommend it to my friends,” he said, adding that he hopes that actors like Chinese martial arts star Jet Li can be featured in more of such Chinese films in the future.
To fellow movie-goer and Chinese national Serena Fan, 35, the film offered a rich insight into the behind-the-scenes work and gave her a newfound respect for the aviation industry. “As passengers, many people have very little knowledge of the process and hard work of the airline crew involved,” said Fan who has lived in Singapore for the past seven years.
She said while she knew that Chinese aviation safety standards are relatively high, the film helped further bolster her “confidence” in the airline industry.
On the potential of the Chinese film market, Fan said that China has “many stories to tell” and can explore more areas, such as doing more to raise the standards of its science-fiction films or delving into stories about the lives of ordinary Chinese people.
Besides The Captain, the other two Chinese films currently released here in Singapore are “My People, My Country,” a film that draws on historical and classic moments since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, and “The Climbers,” which details the ascent of Chinese mountaineers up Mt. Qomolangma.
Noting that Chinese mainland movie companies have been “producing high-quality movies” in the past five years, the Clover Films spokesperson was optimistic that Chinese movies can attract more Singaporeans and Chinese nationals here.
Clover Films has previously distributed Chinese action war film Operation Red Sea, by Hong Kong director Dante Lam during the Chinese New Year period in 2018. It also released other movies like Shadow, a Chinese period film directed by Zhang Yimou, as well as fantasy action film Jade Dynasty.
In general, Singaporeans have “started to embrace the concept of a China movie blockbuster” and are not just limited to watching Hollywood movies. The success of The Captain and other Chinese films in the box office is a testament to this trend, said the Clover Films spokesperson.
“We will continue to bring in more Chinese movies so that audience in Singapore can have the chance to watch these good movies,” said the spokesperson.