Cinemas across the city began selling HK$30 tickets for Saturday screenings as part of the government’s “Happy Hong Kong” campaign. Dozens lined up outside a cinema in Mong Kok, with each person allowed to purchase up to four film tickets in a single transaction.
The Happy Hong Kong campaign was first announced by Financial Secretary Paul Chan in the Budget in February. On Monday, Chan announced that Saturday would be “Hong Kong Cinema Day 2023,” where cinema tickets across the city would cost HK$30 each.
At Cinema City Langham Place and Broadway Mong Kok, crowds were seen an hour before tickets went on sale. The first person in line at both cinemas told HKFP they had arrived at 9:00 a.m. to purchase the discounted tickets.
Some cinema tickets were being resold on second-hand shopping platforms, such as Carousell, where sellers welcomed bids for the tickets.
Tickets for the 4DX and IMAX version of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which cost around HK$120 to HK$170 originally, were among those being resold.
Angel, who told HKFP she had not been to the cinema since last year, arrived at the movie theatre with her daughter at around 9:15 a.m. to wait for the 11:00 a.m. sales to begin.
She said that as a low-income family waiting to be allocated public housing, watching a movie in Hong Kong was a luxury for them.
“Of course we want the government to sponsor more cheap cinema tickets, or else we can’t afford to watch movies in the cinema,” Angel told HKFP.
Candy, Angel’s daughter, picked up three tickets for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, telling HKFP she was looking forward to finally watching the movie in cinema on Saturday.
Tsang, a 30 year-old Hongkonger who worked in banking, was queueing to buy tickets for him and his friends. They planned to watch the Taiwan romantic comedy Marry My Dead Body.
When asked whether he felt “happy” about the “Happy Hong Kong” campaign, he told HKFP that while it was nice to watch a movie for less money, he would not describe himself as “happier” merely because of the discounted movie.
“I would prefer another round of consumption vouchers, or tax allowance. Then I’d be happier,” Tsang said.
The online servers of several major cinema chains, including MCL Cinemas, Broadway Circuit, Emperor Cinemas and Cinema City, were down on Thursday morning as people flocked to buy the HK$30 tickets.
Ho Cheuk-Tin, the director of the Hong Kong film Over My Dead Body which is on its way to making HK$20 million at the domestic box office, said on a Hong Kong Commercial Radio programme that he hoped the event could allow more lower-income families to enjoy the cinema experience.
Like many other Hong Kong directors, Ho said he planned to tour multiple cinemas on Saturday to thank the audience for their support.
When asked if he were “happier” because of the potential boost to the box office of his film, Ho answered: “we’ll have to wait and see the final figures first.”
Support HKFP | Code of Ethics | Error/typo? | Contact Us | Newsletter | Transparency & Annual Report | Apps
Help safeguard press freedom & keep HKFP free for all readers by supporting our team
Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit.