Old Father is Tran Thanh's first movie as a co-producer, screenwriter, director, and lead actor. The film is the highest-grossing Vietnamese film ever. As of April 5, according to Box Office Vietnam statistics, Old Father has brought in VND400 billion, far exceeding the feat of the billion-dollar blockbuster Avengers: Endgame when it was released in Vietnam two years ago.
The production cost was only about VND23 billion, and it came out when theaters were thirsty for new movies, particularly after some theaters in Ho Chi Minh City were closed due to Covid-19.
"Movies that resonate with viewers’ feelings are the deciding factor for the success, while media, marketing, the cast, and side stories are only motivators," said poet Nguyen Phong Viet. "If a movie evokes emotional experiences in the audience, it will turn into a rocket flying into space."
After the first screening of Old Father, film critic Le Hong Lam said: "For the first time in over 20 years of watching Vietnamese films in theaters, I have seen an original and heartfelt work! "
Besides big-grossing, hugely successful films, a number of cinematographic works have not been received well.
One of them is What We Forgot to Remember (Người cần quên phải nhớ) released at 2020 Christmas by Charlie Nguyen and Duc Thinh, the producer and director duo who were behind many other successful movies that earned high revenue.
Charlie Nguyen said: "No major filmmaker in the world has never failed. I always tell my partner that we do our best in the making of the films, and then just play it by ear with the outcome. However, facing the failure of this movie was when I had my first epiphany.''
One of the reasons why the film was not well received is that its story plot failed to access emotion among viewers, which is all-important.
"What touches the hearts of the audience is reflected through the character which we had not invested in enough. People feel hurt as the characters’ pain resonates with theirs," Charlie said.
What We Forgot to Remember has grossed only VND1.9 billion while the cost of production was around VND20 billion, which is much better than some of the other movies that hit theaters recently.