Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Yuthlert's Last Moment tops Thai box office

As predicted, Yuthlert Sippapak's weepy love-triangle romance Rak/Sam/Sao (The Last Moment) led the Thailand box office over the weekend, raking in a respectable US$665,623, according to Box Office Mojo.

Another newly released Thai comedy, Haakao from Sahamongkol Film International, was fourth, taking $217,655. The romantic comedy about a tomboy college girl in a sexuality crisis co-stars Mum Jokmok, a comedian who is typically a box-office draw.

The second and third spots on the box-office rankings were held by Kung Fu Panda and The Incredible Hulk, which are both in their second week at cinemas in Thailand. Get Smart, the newly released Hollywood comedy based on a 1960s American TV series, came in fifth.

Here is where I'd insert quotes from experts to explain why the anything-goes, low-brow cookie-cutter comedies like Haakao seem to have lost their allure with Thai audiences. Perhaps an economist would say that the fan base for those kinds of films -- not-so-well-off working-class people -- are being hit harder by high petrol prices and so they are cutting back on driving (or taking the bus) to places like cinemas.

But maybe not. Cinemas, being "cheap entertainment" still expect to draw crowds, despite belt-tightening moves by consumers, Anavach Ongvasith, chief cinema officer at Major Cineplex, was quoted as saying yesterday by The Nation. Consumers will stop buying clothes and travelling overseas before they stop seeing movies, Anavach said.

Big audience draws are expected to be Wanted, The Dark Knight, The Mummy 3: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Ong Bak 2.

So maybe people are just generally sick of movies like Haakao?

As for this coming weekend, GTH's Rak/Sam/Sao will likely continue to be dominant Thai film, though it will more than likely be unseated from the No. 1 spot by the slick-as-hell Angelina Jolie shoot-em-up Wanted.

The only other Thai release this week is an independent documentary, Our Southern Home (Oh Oh Pak Tai Baan Rao), in limited release at the Lido cinemas. Another Thai teen romance, Friendship, starring Love of Siam's Mario Maurer and Ploy's Apinya Sakuljaroensuk had been scheduled for release this week, but has been delayed until July 3.

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