Trailer Watch: Jack Neo PreparesTo Make More Money With Ah Girls Go Army Again
The sequel to Jack Neo’s CNY hit will hit the cinemas on June 16.
The day we dreaded has finally arrived — the trailer launch for the Ah Girls Go Army sequel, Ah Girls Go Army Again, which opens in cinemas on June 16.
Judging from the two-minute-plus trailer dropped on Friday night (June 3), Ah Girls Go Army Again feels like a rerun of the first movie — more of the same juvenile mischief from Singapore’s pioneer batch of female enlistees. (One highlight — or lowlight? — involved a pink slingshot…er, don’t ask.)
The trailer promises cameos from Ah Boys to Men actors (Joshua Tan, Tosh Zhang, Noah Yap, et al) and blogger Lee Min Kun aka mrbrown as an instructor losing his cool over his bumbling trainees. Chances are some of us will be sharing his frustration by the end of the movie — that is if we make it that far.
AGGA was poorly reviewed when it came out during the Chinese New Year holidays. 8days.sg’s one-star review said, “Beneath the seemingly progressive façade, it’s aggressively regressive, especially in its unflattering depiction of women — juvenile, clueless and asinine”. (Click here, here and here for more reviews.)
The brickbats didn’t slow down AGGA’s box-office business, though. It earned over S$2 million in its first month. A far cry from the kind of moola the Ah Boys to Men flicks made (Ah Boys to Frogmen made the most with S$7.8 mil while Ah Boys to Men 4, the least with S$4.5 million), but in light of pandemic-era conditions, it was a big friggin' deal.
AGGA also made a few dollars more from cinemas in Malaysia and Brunei. Moral of the story: Never underestimate Neo’s die-hard fanbase. (Wonder how many of those ticket-buyers were curious hate-watchers?)
But there’s another possible reason for AGGA’s success: the lack of competition. It was up against Hongkong’s New Kung Ku Cult Master 1, Taiwan’s My Best Friend’s Breakfast, China’s Only Fools Rush In, and Malaysia’s Nasi Lemak 1.0. The only Hollywood title was the middling disaster-porn Moonfall.
Ah Girls Go Army Again’s box-office prospects are different this time: It opens on the same day as Pixar’s Lightyear. It also has to contend with holdovers Top Gun: Maverick, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Jurassic World Dominion (out on June 8). Will Neo loyalists flock to the cinemas or wait for it to arrive on streaming?
When AGGA was first announced, Neo didn’t say anything about it being a two-parter. Apparently, he had so much stuff that he could fill two features. He had a tight deadline on the first movie: he shot it in Nov-Dec 2021 for a Feb 1 release. The quick turnaround might have affected the movie's quality.
For the sequel, we would like to think that Neo had more time and hindsight to finesse the material, putting in more care and thought. (He shared on Instagram that he wrapped production on Apr 20.) For all we know, Ah Girls Go Army Again might turn out better than expected. And by better, we mean ‘less painful’. One can only hope, right?
Watch the trailer here: