Ah Boys to Men
Comedy about army recruits starts gangbusters but loses its sharpness in the second half.
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By Patrick Frater
Mon, 12 November 2012, 14:59 PM (HKT)
The Singaporean comedian scored a best ever opening weekend for a local film when he opened army recruitment comedy Ah Boys to Men 新兵正傳 (2012) on a wide 37-screen release. Distributed by Clover Films Pte Ltd and Golden Village Pictures Pte Ltd, Boys grossed $1.23 million (S$1.51 million) over 8-11 Nov.
That topped the Bond juggernaut Skyfall, which opened a week earlier with a first week total of $2.24 million.
Boys performance was considerably better than Neo's previous We Not Naughty 小孩不壞 (2012), which was released in January and opened slowly for a $276,000 (S$338,000) debut weekend, but ended with a decent $1.76 million (S$2.15 million) final gross. The distributors forecast that Boys will finish with over S$4 million ($3.26 million).
Boys claimed the record for an opening weekend by a Singaporean film from another Neo-directed title, Ah Long Pte Ltd 老師嫁老大 (2008), which took $1.21 million in 2008. Neo's top scoring film Money No Enough 2 錢不夠用２ (2008) opened with $971,000 (S$1.19 million) and finished on a cumulative gross of $3.98 million (S$4.87 million).
A sequel, Ah Boys To Men (Part 2) opens on 7 Feb 2013. Both movies are produced by J Team Productions Pte Ltd Ｊ Ｔｅａｍ製作有限公司, mm2 Entertainment Sdn Bhd ｍｍ２影視娛樂有限公司, Clover Films, Grand Brilliance Sdn Bhd, K Kopter, K&L Entertainment, Neo-Film, Sky Films, StarHub and Vividthree Productions.
The budget for the pair has been reported as $2.45 million (S$3 million).
The idea for the film was reportedly proposed to Neo by the Ministry of Defence as a commemoration of Singapore's 45th year of National Service. Boys is a coming of age film portraying the evolution of manhood.
It stars veteran local actor Richard LOW 劉謙益, actress/comedienne Irene ANG 洪愛玲 and Getai actor WANG Lei 王雷. Supporting cast includes newcomers Joshua Tan, Maxi Lim, Noah Yap, Wang Wei Liang and Tosh Zhang.