Courtroom drama A Guilty Conscience has made history at the Hong Kong box office as the first local film ever to reach HK$100m ($12.75m), a figure only previously achieved by Hollywood tentpoles.
The feature from first-time director Jack Ng reached the milestone on February 21, just 32 days after its release on January 21 – the eve of Chinese New Year.
Only a handful of Hollywood films have previously hit HK$100m at the Hong Kong box office, with recent titles including Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way Of Water. Others include Marvel superhero blockbusters Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
A Guilty Conscience stars Dayo Wong of Table For Six, itself one of the biggest films at the Hong Kong box office in 2022. He plays a sharp-tongued barrister who hopes to redeem himself from a past mistake that landed his defendant in jail. It co-stars Louise Wong and Fish Liew, both known for hit biopic Anita, along with Tse Kwan Ho, Michael Wong, Dee Ho from boyband Error, Renci Yeung and Adam Pak.
It is highly invigorating for the Hong Kong film industry that A Guilty Conscience has joined the HK$100m club, following three challenging years. Cinemas were closed for 267 days between 2020-2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Since the second half of 2022, Hong Kong has been experiencing a cinematic renaissance with a string of record-breaking local films. These include sci-fi Warriors Of Future and ensemble family comedy Table For Six, which are the second and third highest grossing Chinese-language films of all time respectively.
A Guilty Conscience marks the second consecutive box office hit for producer-distributor Edko Films, which is also behind Table For Six. Among the top five Chinese-language films of all time, four are produced by Edko Films, with the other two being 2016’s Cold War 2 and 2021’s Anita.
A Guilty Conscience will open in mainland China tomorrow (February 24), following date-and-day releases with Hong Kong on January 21 in Malaysia, Singapore, North America, the UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Edko Films will next release Wong Hing Fan’s action thriller Cyber Heist (previously known as Disconnected) on March 9 in Hong Kong. It stars Aaron Kwok, Lam Ka Tung and Simon Yam.