Jack Neo responds to criticism over constant product placement in his movies
Jack Neo has established himself as one of Singapore’s most recognized filmmakers – the man who gave life to so many many local classics such as Money No Enough, I Not Stupid as well as his commercial success Ah Boys to Men and his recent spin-off, Ah Girls Go Army.
However, Jack Neo’s consistent success at the box office has also come under constant criticism over his excessive product placements in films, leading many to complain that his films are just “feature films”. advertisers”.
Appearing on the latest episode of local talk show, Hear U Out, the 62-year-old filmmaker explained that the film industry is not as lucrative as people would assume.
Despite the massive success of 1998’s Money No Enough, Neo revealed that he “didn’t really win that much, adding that he only ‘earned the base amount’ with ‘no bonuses’.
Neo shared that he first found it difficult to get funding when he started directing movies, adding that things eventually improved as he was able to prove himself in the industry with the success of his first films.
Case in point: Neo’s successful Ah Boys To Men (ABTM) franchise.
According to Neo, the idea was born after MINDEF (Department of Defense) approached him to turn a YouTube documentary – Every Singaporean Son – into a film to celebrate the 45th anniversary of national service.
“ABTM was a huge production; MINDEF supported us. So the rifles, cannons and such were all from them,” he said.
Despite the support from MINDEF, Neo recalls that the production was still a bit difficult as he had a limited budget of 1.5 million Singapore dollars each for the first two installments, which he says is “very little”. .
“Honestly, it’s really hard to make money from movies,” he said. “If you spend S$1 million on production, you need S$3 million to break even, and you don’t start earning until then.
“That’s why we also tend to have more product placements. Where would the production budget come from if not sponsors? he explained. “They are the ones who balance things out, otherwise we could never make (movies).”
Watch the full interview on Hear U Out, which can be streamed online on meWATCH.