Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Queens rule box office
Queens of Langkasuka (Puen Yai Jom Salad, literally Big Guns Pirates) was the No. 1 movie over the weekend in Thailand, earning 39.7 million baht over its first four days, according to a report by Kong Rithdee for Variety. It took in 12 million baht on its opening day last Thursday, which was Chulalongkorn Memorial Day, a public holiday.
Update: Screen Daily's Stephen Cremin reports a lower figure of 34.2 million baht for the first five days, though he optimistically forecasts the film will be the first local production to top 100 million baht.
Released by Sahamongkol Film International, Queens of Langkasuka is a seaborne historical action fantasy by Nonzee Nimibutr, one of the leading filmmakers of Thailand's New Wave resurgence in the late 1990s. He's better known for slightly smaller-scale period dramas like the ghost story Nang Nak or the erotic family drama Jan Dara, though he also had a hand in producing the big historical action drama Bang Rajan in 2000.
In production for three years and costing 200 million baht, Queens is Nonzee's most ambitious directorial effort to date. It had earlier been called Queens of Pattani, but the title was changed because of the ongoing separatist violence in Thailand's three southernmost provinces, one of which is Pattani. The film had earlier screened to tepid reviews at the Cannes Film Market and at Venice. It had been planned as a two-parter and a roughly 140-minute version had been shown internationally. The version playing in Thai cinemas clocks in at a brisk 120 minutes or so. It was "gala opening" of last month's Bangkok International Film Festival and is due for a gala screening at next month's Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.
Audiences were likely drawn by the big-name cast, including Ananda Everingham, "Diaw" Chupong Changprung, Jarunee Suksawat and Sorapong Chatree, as well as special-effects-driven action. The screenplay was written by Win Lyovarin, a SeaWrite Award-winning author.
On the Major Cineplex chart, Queens of Langkasuka outgunned the Mark Wahlberg video-game adaptation Max Payne, which was No. 1 at Thailand's biggest cinema chain the week before. The family-friendly adventure thriller City of Ember, also in its second week, was No. 3. Making its Thailand debut at No. 4 was Tropic Thunder, Ben Stiller's war-movie parody, also starring Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr.
The Phranakorn comedy Luang Phee Teng 2 (The Holy Man 2), in its fourth week in cinemas, was hanging in at No. 5. It has so far earned US$2.35 million, around 79.9 million baht, according to Variety. Screen Daily says The Holy Man 2 is one of the two top-grossing Thai films of the year, the other being GTH's omnibus horror 4Bia. So far this year, the biggest grossing film in Thailand has been The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which earned 123 million baht, according to Screen Daily.
Dropping out of the Top 5 on Major Cineplex's current chart was Nose Udom's E-Tim Tay Nae, the previous week's No. 2, and the Leonardo diCaprio-Russell Crowe spy thriller Body of Lies, which was at No. 5 the week before.
Major Cineplex lists its top five films on its showtimes page, but it does not state any revenue figures or the number of screens for each film.