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Domestic movie a box-office sizzler

By Zhang Fengming   (Shanghai Daily)

13:57, January 14, 2013

Related: 2012, a remarkable year for China's movie market

Chinese comedy "Lost in Thailand" well illustrates the concept of "Small is beautiful." The low-budget hit has raked in a Chinese mainland box office of 1.2 billion yuan, only second to Avatar's 1.38 billion yuan in history.

The big news in China's entertainment industry is a low-budget Chinese comedy from a rookie director that set a box office record of 1.2 billion yuan (US$159 million), beating all Hollywood blockbusters so far, save "Avatar."

The domestic hit "Lost in Thailand" was released on December 12 and raked in 100 million yuan in the first three days. On January 1, it became the first Chinese-made movie to surpass 1 billion yuan in ticket sales.

Its plot is simple and somewhat Hollywood-esque. Two Chinese businessmen battle one another to secure the authorization signature of their partner in Thailand for a newly developed fuel-oil additive. En route to find the partner, they meet a slow-witted pancake chef, and that's where the fun begins.

The film was made on a budget of 30 million yuan, and movie fans simply love it.

Fans like Brenda Sun, 31, a marketing manager in Shanghai. "It's fun and laid-back," she said. "I wanted to see something to cheer me up, and the movie did.

"I got a 50 yuan Wagas chicken sandwich after paying for a 16.50 yuan Big Mac," she added, referring to the food at a Western cafe chain. "For the price, I got two hours of laughter and left in a good mood. It was certainly worth it."

Gross receipts from the film show no sign of abating. "Lost in Thailand" is now on track to challenge "Avatar," which was the most successful box office ever in China at 1.38 billion yuan.
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