Movie buffs looking for a science fiction-fantasy escape, with plenty of comedy, might find what they’re looking for in “The Mermaid.”
The film from Stephen Chow, titled “Mei Ren Yu” in China, is among the highest grossing films in Chinese history and opens Friday at The Grand Cinema.
On its opening day, the movie took in $40 million, or about 40 percent of all Feb. 8 ticket sales. In its first seven days, the movie took in $276.7 million, helping China set a worldwide record for movies in a single week in any country, at $554 million. Movies were a popular diversion that week as Chinese residents flooded into movie theaters during the Spring Festival holiday.
“Mermaid” has since passed the $500 million mark, making it the third-biggest film worldwide this year, behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Deadpool.”
The movie’s plot revolves around a real estate project being developed by Liu Xuan that involves reclamation at the site of a marine reserve. But the project threatens the mermaids who rely on the sea to make a living.
Bearing her own family secrets, Shan is dispatched to stop Xuan. During their encounters, they fall in love.
Even though Xuan stops the reclamation plan out of his love for Shan, Shan gets injured in an accident and vanishes into the sea.
“I saw the trailer for this film before it arrived in America, and it looked hysterical,” said Philip Cowan, executive director of The Grand.
“Then I started hearing about how popular it was in China, so I definitely wanted to bring it to Tacoma,” he said. “It took awhile to find the right contact to get permission to show it, so we didn’t have a lot of time to publicize that it is coming to The Grand, but we are very excited to have it here now.”
Cowan said the film “was huge” during a recent run in Seattle.
In a review for the Los Angeles Times, film critic Martin Tsai wrote: “Stephen Chow’s original, inspired, immersive and entertaining film is crass and macabre, yet big-hearted, and makes a wonderfully adult bedtime story.”
The Mermaid (Mei Ren Yu)
Cast: Chao Deng, Yun Lin, Show Luo, Zhang Yuqi.
Director: Stephen Chow.
Running time: 1:40.
Rated: R, for some violence.