Bill Kong Edko Films copy

Source: Edko Films

Bill Kong

Edko Films executive director Bill Kong is a highly decorated producer with a career that spans more than three decades.

His long list of notable producing credits include the internationally acclaimed Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lust, Caution and Hero as well as many box-office hits such as the Cold War series, Monster Hunt series and Anita.

Most recently, 2023’s A Guilty Conscience, which he also produced, became the first Hong Kong film in decades to outstrip Hollywood blockbusters for the annual top spot at the local box office.

Like in most parts of the world, the Hong Kong market has yet to return to pre-Covid levels, but Kong remains upbeat about theatrical prospects.

“[It’s] not that people have stopped going to cinemas but it has to be for quality films,” he says. “If we want to bring them back, it is crucial to think how to make it worth it for the audience in terms of their time and money spent.”

Edko Films, which has a long history of more than 60 years, is a producer and distributor as well as an operator of its own Broadway cinema circuit in Hong Kong and mainland China.

The strict Covid travel restrictions kept the executive in Hong Kong, giving him a chance to make more local films, including A Guilty Conscience, 2022’s Table For Six (another megahit that is the third-highest grossing local film of all time), and sequel Table For Six 2, which was the biggest Chinese New Year title in the territory this year.

A Guilty Conscience and Table For Six have each earned $14m (rmb100m) in mainland China. Both were released there as Hong Kong imports, which Kong says are “entitled to a less favourable revenue sharing percentage [about 30%], compared to 43% for a Hong Kong-China co-production, but they face less restrictions for the release”.

He admits he had not expected such outstanding mainland box office as both titles were made with Hong Kong audiences in mind. “It’s pure luck, more than anything,” he says. “You may not believe that luck is very important for everything to come together, apart from having a good script.”

While Kong is sourcing the large-scale projects that might take years to get off the ground, he aims to continue with the production of one or two local films every year. “Create Hong Kong has created more than two dozen new directors through their funding,” he adds. “New actors are emerging too, thanks to the new features, creating a sizeable new talent pool.”