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YesAsia 2012 Bestsellers - Movies

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The best-selling movies of 2012 are almost all Chinese-language movies, but they represent a fairly wide range of genres, from period blockbusters like Flying Swords of Dragon Gate and War of the Arrows to contemporary dramas like You are the Apple of My Eye and A Simple Life. Donnie Yen didn't release an action movie in 2012 and Andy Lau was less prolific than usual, so instead the biggest star of the year is Zhou Xun, who has three films in the top ten. Aloys Chen, William Feng and Lau Ching Wan each have two films in the top ten.

The below rankings are based on video sales on YesAsia.com from January 1 to December 31, 2012. Sales of all editions and versions of the same title are summed up to determine the total sales.


BEST-SELLING MOVIES OF 2012


1. Flying Swords of Dragon Gate (Hong Kong/China)
One of Hong Kong cinema's greatest filmmakers ventures into a new dimension and creates one of the best 3D films since Avatar with this thrilling wuxia film. Featuring a great cast that includes Jet Li in action mode and Aloys Chen's deliciously evil performance, Flying Swords of Dragon Gate continues an exciting return to form for Tsui Hark that began with Detective Dee.



2. You are the Apple of My Eye (Taiwan)
The success of You are the Apple of My Eye is no fluke. After smashing box office records in Taiwan and Hong Kong, writer Giddens' directorial debut became our best-selling Taiwan film of 2012 thanks to its crude, but heartfelt examination of adolescence, falling in love and getting over the one that got away. Try to resist the temptation to call up your old flame after seeing the film.



3. A Simple Life (Hong Kong)
Even before its theatrical release, A Simple Life had already won a slew of awards and critical acclaim from around the world. Featuring an amazing performance by Deanie Ip and masterfully subdued direction by Ann Hui, this true life-based drama is as bittersweet as it is heartwarming and surprisingly funny. Destined to be a Hong Kong cinema classic.



4. Viral Factor (Hong Kong/China)
Director Dante Lam has raised the bar for Hong Kong action films with Viral Factor, a rare blockbuster in which the emotions are as intense as the gunfights. Made on an intense production schedule that includes stops in Jordan, Malaysia and Beijing, The Viral Factor gives Hollywood a run for its money with eye-popping action sequences.



5. Life Without Principle (Hong Kong/China)
Johnnie To leaves the action genre behind with this gripping ensemble drama set in Hong Kong's chaotic financial world. The acclaimed auteur weaves a complex cautionary tale about the dangers of Hong Kongers' obsession with making quick money by examining the lives of a cop, a foolishly loyal triad thug and a bank employee. Life Without Principle may be a story about Hong Kong, but its messages are relevant to audiences all over the world.



6. White Vengeance (Hong Kong/China)
Before Lu Chuan's The Last Supper arrives, audiences can check out director Daniel Lee's take on the Hongmen Banquet in this gorgeous period epic. One of the most important events in warring states era, the banquet is reinterpreted by Lee as a complex chess game in which one false move can cost one his life. William Feng kicked off a breakthrough year in film with his commanding performance here as Xiang Yu.



7. War of the Arrows (Korea)
The biggest Korean film of 2011, War of the Arrows is all about the lethal power of the arrow. Director Kim Han Min masterfully uses old-school filmmaking techniques to create kinetic action sequences that are exciting without sacrificing its simple, but involving story about a master archer out to rescue his sister. No action film is successful without a hardworking cast, and Park Hae Il is simply magnificent in one of the most physically demanding roles of his career.



8. Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (Taiwan)
Based on the true story of the 1930 Wushe Incident, Wei Te Sheng's Seediq Bale is as epic as motion pictures can get. The five-hour action drama is the most expensive film in Taiwanese cinema history, and Wei made sure that audiences see every single dollar of it on the screen. Come for the spectacle and stay for an emotional David-versus-Goliath tale about maintaining honor, bravery and dignity in the face of oppression.



9. The Great Magician (Hong Kong/China)
A rare comedy from Derek Yee, the man behind solemn crime films like One Nite in Mongkok, The Great Magician is worth watching just to see the big screen pairing of Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Lau Ching Wan. Seeing the two Hong Kong superstars share screen time as they turn from rivals to partners-in-crime should be pure joy for any Hong Kong cinema fan. The rest of the film is pretty delightful, too.



10. Painted Skin: The Resurrection (Hong Kong/China)
Before Lost in Thailand and Chinese Zodiac came along, Wuershan's Painted Skin: Resurrection was the highest grossing Chinese film ever. With a star-studded cast, striking visuals and a moving love story at its core, Painted Skin: The Resurrection is a great fantasy epic that offers everything Chinese audiences want in a commercial blockbuster.






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Published January 15, 2013


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