SINGAPORE — Director Jack Neo has defended the number of product placements in his films, including his latest box office hit Ah Girls Go Army.
Much like in installments of its hugely popular Ah Boys To Men franchise, the Chinese New Year film has featured a number of sponsors including food delivery service Foodpanda, Nippon Paint, skincare company New York Skin Solutions, the Carro automotive market as well as Ogawa, which is known for its massage chairs.
“Honestly, it’s really hard to make money from movies,” he said on the latest episode of chat show Hear U Out, hosted by Quan Yifeng.
“If you spend $1 million on production, you need $3 million to break even, and you don’t start earning until then. That’s why the odds of winning money from films is very small and that is why many productions are supported by the government.”
The 62-year-old added: “That’s why we also tend to have more product placements. Where would the production budget come from if not sponsors? They’re the ones balancing things, otherwise we don’t would never be able to make (movies).”
As of Monday (February 7), the film, which had a production budget of $2 million, grossed $1.67 million at the box office after opening to mixed reviews in Singapore, Malaysia. and in Brunei on February 1.
The four Ah Boys To Men films (2012 to 2017), all directed by Neo, have grossed over $26.8 million theatrically.