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Seven Swords Lukewarm at Box Office
2005-8-1 17:39:16      CRIENGLISH.com
Hong Kong director Hark Tsui's much-touted film "Seven Swords" debuted in Beijing's cinemas on Friday.

Despite the famed director, all-star cast and large-scale promotion campaigns, the weekend box-office was not so good. Our reporter Li Peichun has more.

Reporter: Tickets are not selling well in major cinemas across the city. For the first screening, only about ten people have come to the cinemas to buy tickets, and no one has booked a ticket by phone. Here's Zhang Xiaobing, operation manager from UME Cinema in Beijing.

"We've never met such a situation when such a big-production movie has been given the cold shoulder so early."

Seven Swords tells the story of seven warriors coming together to protect a village from a diabolical general. It is the opening film of this year's Venice Film Festival. And director Hark Tsui was the first Chinese director to join the board of judges for the Cannes Film Festival this year. A star-studded cast includes Hong Kong's Leon Lai, Charlie Yeung, and mainland actor Sun Honglei.

Despite the allure of such an extraordinary combination, audiences still have mixed feelings towards the film.

"I think it's OK."

"I think the plot is a little bit scattered. The director did not put enough control into it."

Prior to the film's debut, director Hark Tsui and his crew were busy attending promotional activities and tirelessly giving interviews. But why are the box office rewards still not satisfying? Zhang Xiaobing from Beijing's UME Cinema explains these promotions are probably not targeting the right market.

"The film's promotion in cinemas is quite poor. Apart from one or two posters, no other signs of the film can be seen. Thus it has failed to attract film-goers' attention."

So it seems no matter how much money is spent on promotion or how large the campaigns are, films eventually have to be close enough to the audience. 

CRI Exclusive / Reporter: Li Peichun.

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