Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chinese Tour Groups, Visitors Seek Out 'Sex and Zen'

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hong Kong’s box office continued to boom as visitors from mainland China flocked to the city to watch “3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy” over the May Day holiday.

Box office sales for the three-day weekend totaled 2.8 million Hong Kong dollars (US$360,900), helped in part by viewers from the mainland, where the movie is banned for its explicit content. One viewer, a 26-year-old assistant from China’s Guangdong province who gave her name only as Pei Pei, traveled to Hong Kong to watch the 3-D film at the Pacific Place AMC Theater Saturday. Dubbed by its producers as the world’s first 3-D erotic movie, the film has brought in US$6.7 million globally since opening in Hong Kong on April 14, when tickets sales beat out “Avatar” as the biggest opening day in the city’s box-office history.

“I’ve heard so much about this movie and I’m curious,” Pei Pei said. “It should be a unique experience.”

Ahead of the long weekend, Chinese online forums were abuzz about the movie. Some savvy marketers cashed in by organizing tours to Hong Kong to see the film.

Guangzhou-based Tower Group — which sells discounted services at a group rate, similar to Groupon – was one such company. It charged 288 yuan  (US$44) per person, which included the movie ticket (at HK$100), a round trip same-day bus fare from Guangzhou and travel insurance.

The site increased the price to 288 yuan from 268 yuan a person this past weekend – not because of higher demand, said a salesman, but because of increased bus expenses over the holiday. Registration for the tour was closed by the Thursday before the weekend. The company said it sold roughly 200 tickets for each day, including the Monday holiday.

Indeed, China’s popular Weibo microblogging site was filled with chatter about the 3-D porn film.

“I really want to go and check out this Sex and Zen. Who would like to go with me? I want girls, no guys” wrote user Yang Qingfu.

“I’m going to work on my Hong Kong and Macau pass [visa] tomorrow!!!” wrote someone named Gu Yue Mu Mu Chyuan.

On an online forum for the city of Xiamen, one user tried to organize a group trip to Hong Kong that ranged from a 1,500 yuan round-trip ticket for just the movie to a 3,000 yuan two-day itinerary that included not only the movie, but trips  to Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park. (It wasn’t clear whether the group trip went through with it.)

This isn’t the first time a flesh flick in Hong Kong has drawn crowds. In 2007, mainland Chinese visitors flocked to Hong Kong for the full-length version of Ang Lee’s “Lust, Caution.”

– Yoli Zhang contributed to this article

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