Man In Love, a Taiwanese remake of the 2014 Korean romantic drama has been winning hearts locally, grossing $11.3M through Sunday, and remaining No. 1 for three weeks in a row, despite holdover competition from Godzilla Vs Kong and Mortal Kombat. The debut feature from Yin Chen-Hao is coming out of its fourth frame and is currently the top local title of the pandemic era as well as moving up on the all-time chart for Taiwanese films at home.
Taiwan’s movie theaters were affected by Covid, but were never forced to close, and as capacity restrictions eased, a project titled Local Films Taking Off saw a number of Taiwanese titles hit theaters every month until April this year. That included a rewards system incentivizing moviegoers out to cinemas, the Straits Times reported in January. Through end-2020, local films had garnered 18% of the market, versus just over 8% in 2019.
The trend appears to be continuing with Man In Love (its $11.3M to date is not too far off Godzilla Vs Kong‘s $12.4M).
Sony Pictures Releasing International debuted the movie on April 1 and projections are for Man In Love to gross as high as NT$ 400M ($14.2M) which would place it in the Top 5 ever. Sony is very active in local-language productions, and although it did not produce Man In Love, the film’s success is further tribute to the strength of homegrown fare which helps all boats to rise. The original title did about $13M in Korea in 2014.
The story centers on Cheng (Dear Ex’s Roy Chiu), a debt collector gone rogue who is living in the attic of a small barber shop. His buddy, the owner of the debt collection company, asks Cheng to collect a troublesome debt while the creditor is in a coma. Cheng comes to the hospital to boss other gangsters around and meets Hao Ting (Tiffany Ann Hsu of Netflix’s The Victim’s Game) who is caring for her poorly father and shouldering the financial burden. (Check out a trailer below.)
On Man In Love’s first weekend, it grossed $1.1M, landing No. 2, followed by strong mid-weeks and a sophomore session at No. 1 with a 117% increase above the opening. It surpassed NT$100M ($3.5M) in its first nine days, becoming the fastest local film to the milestone since 2019’s Detention. On its third weekend, it dropped by just 20% and broke the NT$200M mark, holding No. 1 despite the arrival of Japan’s Detective Conan: The Scarlet Bullet and Korea’s Seobok. This session, it dipped just 39% to add $1.2M.
The Sony team in Taiwan has also released a few other local films that have seen success over the last year, including Your Name Engraved Herein which was the No.2 local title of 2020 at $3.6M, and Do You Love Me As I Love You, the No. 3 local film of 2020 with $2.8M.
Marketing on Man In Love in Taiwan was driven with Calendar Studios. A theme song was released in mid-March by popular local band EggPlantEgg (with whom director Yin previously collaborated on music video “Back Here Again”) gaining over 6.2M YouTube views. Publicity events included the teaser trailer launch and the music video launch with Hsu in attendance. A screening program targeted students while there were facial tissue giveaways during paid sneaks to highlight the tear-jerking nature of the story and ticket promotions to encourage repeat viewing as well as meet-and-greet Q&As with cast and filmmakers.
There’s currently no word on a domestic release, but you can check out a subtitled trailer below: