Taiwanese teen comedy Formula 17, produced by start-up production company Three Dots Entertainment, has surpassed expectations for a local film over its opening weekend in Taipei, achieving a screen average of US$11,777 (NT$387,660) - the highest among all new releases.
Following its premiere at the Taipei Film Festival on March 22, the film opened on three screens on April 2 against US releases The Butterfly Effect, Starsky & Hutch and The Human Stain. The film has grossed US$35,332 (NT$1.16m) in three days which already makes it the second biggest local release of the year so far behind Sylvia Chang's 20:30:40, backed by Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia.
Local productions account for only 1-2% of the Taiwanese box office which is dominated by US films. Three Dots, launched by film executives Michelle Yeh and Aileen Li, aims to produce genre movies, rather than the arthouse product that Taiwan is renowned for, in an attempt to kickstart the local industry.
"We've been very fortunate with support from the local audience and press and we hope this is the beginning of a resurgence in Taiwan cinema," said Yeh. Several other promising local titles are set for release in coming months including Alex Yang's Taipei 21, produced by Central Motion Picture Corp, and Hsu Hsiao-ming's Love Of May, produced by Peggy Chiao's Arclight Films.
Directed by newcomer DJ Chen, Formula 17 is a light-hearted fable about a gay 17-year-old boy who moves to Taipei for the summer in search of first love. The ensemble cast includes Taiwan's Tony Yang and Hong Kong actor and model Duncan Lai.