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'Chuyen ma gan nha' thu 13 ty dong, dan dau doanh thu ngay cong chieu hinh anh 1
(SCREENDAILY.COM) Tran Huu Tan’s Vietnamese Horror Story has set new records at the Vietnam box office as cinemas reopened in Hanoi, following an easing of pandemic restrictions. The anthology feature, inspired by urban legends, opened on February 11 and took $2.3m (VND53bn) from its four-day opening weekend, according to figures released this week by distributor CGV. This saw the feature achieve the second-highest opening day for a Vietnamese title in its local market to date, taking $660,000 (VND15bn), and recorded the highest ever presales for a local film in Vietnam with 85,000 tickets. Locally titled Chuyen Ma Gan Nha, the feature ranked ahead of Kenneth Branagh’s Death On The Nile and Vietnamese drama Naked Truth, produced by CJ Vietnam. Although overtaken by Naked Truth on its second weekend, Vietnamese Horror Story retains a leading cumulative box office of $2.85m (VND65bn) as of February 21. The film is set to be released in Taiwan by Cai Chang International in April. The takings follow a six-month closure of cinemas in Vietnam due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which saw no new releases in the country from May 2021. The reopening started in some cities and provinces in November and gradually expanded. The country’s biggest city, Ho Chi Minh City, was one of the first to reopen cinemas, while Hanoi (Vietnam’s second biggest city) was the last to do so on February 10. While each province has its own regulations, almost all cinemas are currently operating at full capacity, without seating restrictions. Prior to the closures, comedy-drama Dad, I’m Sorry (Bo Gia) by Tran Thanh and Vu Ngoc Dang became Vietnam’s biggest local film of all time, taking $18m at the local box office following its release in March 2021 and securing another $1m in the US.

“Unexpected” hit

Vietnamese Horror Story producer Nguyen Hoang Quan, of Ho Chi Minh-based ProductionQ, said the success had been “quite unexpected” as the film was made on “a modest budget” and the ensemble cast are “not superstars in Vietnam”, but added that the effects, score and scares were having “a big impact”. The film’s VFX was handled by Bad Clay Studio, a Ho Chi Minh-based company headed by French-Vietnamese Thierry Nguyen, whose credits include X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Mad Max: Fury Road and Pokémon Detective Pikachu. Based on local folklore, the feature comprises three chapters and follows an actress seeking everlasting beauty; a magician who makes a deal with evil; and a psychic seeking the remains of a deceased girl. Tan is known as a horror and thriller director, often integrating traditional cultural elements into his films. His debut Home Sweet Home was selected to screen at South Korea’s Busan International Film Festival in 2019, while his second film Survive will receive a global release on Netflix from February 28. Both were also produced by ProductionQ.