Romance sells. Just ask EL James, the author of the hugely popular novel Fifty Shades of Grey. Despite being branded as “mummy porn”, James says the book is ultimately just a classic love story about a handsome billionaire falling in love with the girl-next-door. “Women like to read a passionate love story,” says the novelist.
Director Johnnie To concurs. Even though the Hong Kong director is known for making gritty ultra-violent films, he released Don’t Go Breaking My Heart in 2011. The film tells the story about investment analyst Zixin (played by Gao Yuanyuan, pictured right) who is stuck in a love triangle between flashy, philandering Shen Ran (Louis Koo) and sweet-natured architect Qihong (played by Daniel Wu). It took Rmb96 million ($15.68 million) at the Chinese box office (see WiC105), a respectable amount for the time.
Three years on, the sequel to the romantic comedy was released on Singles’ Day. The director adds new characters to the love triangle: Vic Chou, a Taiwanese heartthrob and Miriam Yeung, the Hong Kong singer-actress. Even though Singles’ Day was originally designed to celebrate singlehood (and later, internet shopping), it appears that many young people are still looking for love, even if it means finding it on the big screen. The film went on to dominate the box office on November 11, taking in over Rmb46 million that day. So far, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2 has raked in Rmb100 million, beating its predecessor.
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