First Flight, a historical drama film about the beginnings of aviation in Thailand that has been in production for five years, has had its release delayed yet again to January 30, 2008.
According to the film's jaw-droppingly detailed production timeline, it was due for release in November, but was delayed due to the fatal airliner crash in Phuket in September. It was then being promoted for release on December 27, and trailers have been playing in local cinemas. They play up the comedic, light-hearted aspects of the film, but I expect it will be heavier on the melodrama than is being let on.
From RS Film, First Flight has been dogged by various delays throughout its long production history. Bangrajan director Thanit Jitnukul was originally attached to direct, but was removed at one point. I think he's still being credited as director, though.
The film has been promoted at the Cannes market for three years running, and had some of its thunder stolen by Flyboys, a CGI-heavy Hollywood release covering the same aviation era, with the same kind of ensemble-cast camraderie.
Earlier this year, one of the stars of the film, Sornram Theppitak, ran into some legal problems after his car struck and killed a woman in June. Charged with reckless driving, he was facing a three-year jail term and a fine of 20,000 baht (about US$600). But just last week, he was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay a 10,000 baht fine after he had made a confession, restored the telephone booth and trees he had damaged and paid compensation to the victim's family.
I don't know if that negative publicity had anything to do with the film's release date being pushed back to the end of January.
Chronicling the formation of the Royal Thai Air Force - the first flying corps in Asia - a lot of CGI has been used for the aerial sequences in First Flight. This heavy use of CGI and various other technical difficulties has more than likely been the sticking point. But there comes a point when you have to just go ahead and release the film to cut your losses and hope for the best.
And from the trailers, it actually looks pretty good.