HONG KONG (Reuters) - A period drama about a young man, a duke and royal orgies drew hundreds in Hong Kong to the premiere of the territory’s first 3D erotic film earlier this week.
The soft-porn “Sex & Zen: Extreme Ecstasy” debuts as the stricken porn industry turns to 3D as a potential money-spinner to revive its fortunes following the success of Hollywood blockbusters such as “Avatar.”
“What we’re going to expect is that people don’t take it as an erotic or any gross thing to look at,” said director Christopher Sun.
“Try to take it as an entertaining movie for adults.”
His father, Stephen Shiu, was responsible for the original “Sex and Zen,” a 1991 film that grossed over US$2.6 million and held the crown as the city’s highest-grossing adult film for over a decade.
Based on a classic Chinese erotic text, “The Carnal Prayer Mat,” the $3 million film, released on April 14, follows a young man as he befriends a duke and enters a world of royal orgies and other sexual peccadilloes.
The film, which began production last August in a shabby film studio on the leafy fringes of Hong Kong, uses slapstick comedy and an amusing script to offset some of the more explicit sex scenes and occasional shocking violence.
Seven simultaneous premiere screenings took place in central Hong Kong, and Sun said he hopes it will run for over a month. This would take in both the Easter and the crucial May Day holiday, seen as key for one target audience - Chinese tourists.
The Chinese government has engaged in a long-term crackdown on smut, and movies with sexual content are generally banned.
“We have already drawn a lot of tourists and also I say they are actually ordinary Chinese people. Of course they are adults,” Sun said.
“There’s no way to show this film there in China so they just come by and try to watch it.”
Taiwanese newspapers reported that at least five tour groups from mainland China had already made reservations to see the film during the May Day holiday.
With 3D films taking almost twice the time to shoot of conventional movies and requiring higher budgets, more advanced equipment and elaborate lighting, the porn industry has been slow to take up the technique despite early excitement at its promise.
But despite this, major 3D sex movies are now reportedly in the works.
U.S. adult entertainment firm Hustler is said to be working on a three-dimensional porn spoof of the lithe, blue aliens in “Avatar,” while Italian director Tinto Brass plans to film a 3D version of his classic 1979 erotic film “Caligula,” based loosely on the life of the dissolute Roman emperor.
Many viewers appeared drawn by the film’s novelty, with some saying they liked it better than they had expected.
“I think people should really view this movie as more a romantic movie with kind of a lot of sexual scenes just coming in between,” said a woman who said she worked in finance but declined to give her name.
“I think there’s a deeper message to the movie than just people expecting to see body parts flying around.”
Editing by Elaine Lies