A team of Thai male transsexual volleyball players took the number one slot at the Hong Kong box office as the Thai hit The Iron Ladies served up $675,324 in its first four days, making a weekly gross of $954,157 (Aug 31-Sept 6). Distributed on 23 screens by Golden Scene, the camp champs had the highest screen average in the top ten with $41,485.
In distant second was Shaw Entertainment's Conman in Tokyo, which opened in the same week with a screen average of $22,956 and a total week gross of $596,868. Staying true to its title, Fox's What Lies Beneath dropped to third place with a two-week gross of $1,135,076.
Only 3 of The Iron Ladies' 23 screens, however, feature the original Thai language production with subtitles. The Cantonese version, which features voice-overs of Hong Kong stars such as Ekin Cheng (Storm Riders, A Man Called Hero), has been clearly the crowd favourite.
With a box-office of around $3.5 million, The Iron Ladies has become the second-highest grossing film in Thai history coming second only to the $4 million record set by ghost thriller Nang Nak. In Hong Kong, however, the tables have been turned as Nang Nak drew a pale $201,300 total box office during its run in April/May, and did not have the advantage of a Cantonese-dubbed version.
The Iron Ladies' quirky but true gender-bending story has been a refreshing change in a summer dominated by Cantonese romantic comedies and Hollywood blockbusters. Golden Harvest's Summer Holiday maintains a strong presence on 27 screens even after its fourth week in release with a total gross of $2,676,753. Fox's X-Men dropped to three screens after five weeks with a total gross of $1,565,078.
The Iron Ladies, which screens at the Toronto International Film Festival this week, is being sold by Fortissimo Film Sales.