The No. 1 film in Thailand over the weekend was Art of the Devil 3, or Long Khong 2, which according to Kong Rithdee in Variety scored US$1.3 million (though Box Office Mojo lists a more conservative figure of $665,350).
A tale of torture and black magic by a vengeful teacher, Art of the Devil 3 was one of three Thai films released to take advantage of the summer school holiday and a four-day weekend. (Monday was the calendar substitution for Chakri Day, celebrating the Chakri Dynasty, which officially was observed on Sunday.) Other releases were RS Film's Dream Team about some kindergarten boys entering a national tug-of-war contest and Nak, an animated feature from Sahamongkol about the Mae Nak Phra Khanong ghost character.
Variety says Dream Team came in second, but Box Office Mojo has the lone Hollywood opener, Vantage Point at No. 2, followed by Dream Team and then GMM Tai Hub's romantic comedy-drama Hormones, the No. 1 for the previous two weeks, at No. 4.
Plucky Nak grabs on with a stretchy arm and reaches No. 5, according to Box Office Mojo.
Thing is, I don't know where either Kong or Box Office Mojo get their numbers. There is no central authority in Thailand that accurately reports the box-office figures. If you ask them, the studios and distributors are happy to reveal their figures, and they generally inflate them. The best that can be done, I've been told, is to call the major cinema chains and then compile the figures yourself, or just call the leading cinema chain, Major Cineplex, and go with their numbers. I'm still working on that.
But no matter what the numbers are, having a No. 1 film is good news for Five Star Production, the producers of Art of the Devil 3. Five Star exec Apiradee "Amy" Eiamphungporn tells Variety:
The film did strongly on the opening Thursday and performed well over the four-day weekend. The film has also been sold to 40 countries which were our customers for Art of the Devil 1 and 2."
Five Star, by the way, is the studio behind Wisit Sasanatieng and Pen-ek Ratanaruang, directors who get a lot of love from festivals, overseas critics and film fans, but whose films aren't generally popular in Thailand. Hopefully they will continue to be supported in their creative efforts while the studio's Ronin Team continues to crank out gory but lucrative horror.