Army movie rakes in $3m

Actor Tosh Zhang as an army platoon sergeant in the movie.

It's no joke - Jack Neo's Ah Boys To Men has topped the box office.

On its opening weekend, the film beat the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, and raked in $1.5 million at the box office.

NS Ah Boys To Men Part I is also the first Asian movie to top the Singapore box office in the last 12 months.

And now, in just under nine days, the movie about the adventures of a group of recruits going through Basic Military Training has raked in $3 million.

Mr Lim Teck, managing director of distribution and production company Clover Films, confirms that the result is phenomenal for a local film.

Clover Films is the investor and distributor for Ah Boys To Men.

"No other Asian film has performed this well in Singapore," he maintains.

Those in the film-making industry usually also have to worry about the drop in takings in the second week, which is often about 50-60 per cent.

Mr Lim adds: "But that the drop is just about 10-20 per cent, and that's definitely a good sign."

Ah Boys To Men was made on a budget of $3 million. The first instalment of the two-parter features war scenes in the Central Business District.

The second part will open on Feb 7.

What's behind the popularity of the movie? It hits close to home, say movie-goers. Since national service is an institution, most Singaporeans can relate to it.

Madam Rosita Mohd, 45, a housewife, says: "My son will be enlisted next year. I watched it because I wanted to know what it would be like when my son goes in."

Technical officer Freddy Chan, 50, was attracted by the hype surrounding the film and has surprised himself by catching it twice.

He says: "I watched it the first time with my son, who has finished serving his NS, and we laughed over the good memories.

"The second time, I accompanied my wife, who wanted to watch it because she was worried about our second boy, who will be enlisted in another two years."

A group of five students were among those who caught the screening at Golden Village Tampines Mall on Friday evening.

Yeo Gwee Heng, 17, says that they watched the film to "get a feel of what it's really like" in the army.

Memories of National Service
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: ST, BH)
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