With its Chinese title Cai Shen Ye (meaning the God Of Fortune), The Fortune Handbook is easily the most auspicious sounding Chinese New Year film in this year of the Fire Rooster.
Directed by Kelvin Sng, the festive flick is headlined by Singapore’s most prominent male stars – Li Nan Xing (real name Jonathan Lee Chee Meng), 52, Christopher Lee Meng Soon, 45, and Mark Lee Kok Huang, 48.
In the movie, Mark plays a trainee god of fortune who has to help make people’s wishes come true as part of his internship programme. Due to his eagerness to fulfill his target quota, the naive deity starts to grant wishes indiscriminately.
Li plays a hard-working baker and Christopher plays a flamboyant gambler who is married to his sister (portrayed by Vivian Lai). They are just three of the humans who initially benefit from the bumbling deity’s overly-generous gesture.
With a winning name and the combined draw of its top stars, the Singaporean comedy raked in RM1.6mil during its opening weekend in Malaysia and reported RM2.7mil in box office takings by its second weekend.
It’s the first time the three Lees, now dubbed the iron trinity of Singapore’s entertainment industry, are sharing screen time in a movie.
And, the trio was so delighted with the promising box office collection that they added promotional stops in Malacca and Klang Valley over the weekend to show their appreciation to their Malaysian supporters.
Being new at comedy and making movies, Singaporean TV drama veteran Li said he was elated at the success of his first attempt to bring in the laughs.
“We should feel so proud to have our own Chinese New Year movies now in Malaysia and Singapore. Back then, CNY movies were all from Hong Kong. I’m so glad The Fortune Handbook is doing so well that I hope to be involved in more of such local projects in the future,” explained Li.
“It’s just a light-hearted movie with a modest budget, so we are actually performing beautifully seeing that we are up against other movies with blockbuster budgets.
After all, people just want to see the Choy San (God Of Fortune). We hope to be able to exceed our target of RM4.5mil in due time,” Mark said, when queried about his box office expectations.
Meanwhile Malacca-born Christopher commented on talk about their next movie being Fu Lu Shou (the Three Star Deities of Prosperity, Authority and Longevity), “We’re so stoked by the performance of our first collaboration that we are already planning our next project together. And, it doesn’t have to be a CNY movie, as long as we get to work together again.”