‘Table for Six’ Sets Hong Kong Box Office Record on Delayed Release (EXCLUSIVE)

Family comedy “Table For Six” has set an opening day local record for a comedy film in Hong Kong, to the relief of producers who were forced to digest a releasing delay of six months.

The Sunny Chan-directed film opened Wednesday in Hong Kong and Macau at 61 theatres, playing a total of 608 sessions. That gave it an accumulated box office of HK$1,986,701 ($255,000).

“Table for Six,” which chronicles a family’s holiday gathering where food, love, friendship, jealousy and relationships are on the menu, had originally been planned as a dish to be served at Chinese New Year, in February. And producers had assembled a cast of major Hong Kong and regional talents, including Dayo Wong, Stephy Tang, Louise Cheung, Ivana Wong, Lin Min-Chen and Chan Charm Man.

But Hong Kong’s strict COVID-control measures, in response to a fifth wave of infections, closed cinemas for the first four months of 2022.

The new timing means the film instead opens in time for the coming mid-Autumn Festival, which falls this weekend and will be taken as a public holiday on Monday. (The autumn festival has rich food associations of its own and moon cakes are a frequent gift.)

Edko Films, which is producer, distributor and international sales agent on the film, took the unusual step of opening the film on a Wednesday in order to create attention and access more screens. Although the tactic is sometimes deployed by some Hollywood titles, local films in Hong Kong normally open on Fridays.

The film was produced by Bill Kong (“Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”), Ivy Ho Wan-ming (“Cold War”) and Tang Wai-but.

“We are gratified that despite the delays and difficulties, Hong Kong audiences are embracing ‘Tale for Six’ with an unanticipated enthusiasm. It is very reassuring that Hong Kong cinema is showing that it still has the potential to resonate here and abroad,” Kong told Variety.

The cinema closures in Hong Kong also meant that the film’s festival career unexpectedly preceded its commercial releases. The film had its world premiere in April at Udine’s Far East Film Festival, where Tang was feted and the film won the Golden Mulberry for best screenplay. It also traveled to the New York Asian Film Festival and the Beijing International Film Festival.

“Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to the NYAFF, where ‘Table for Six’ was an official selection. I was thrilled to see that both Hong Kong audiences and international audiences are enjoying the film….and reacting in all the right places!,” said writer-director Chan.

The film opens in mainland China on Friday. Other Asian territories follow over the next few weeks.

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