The Happiness of Kati was the No. 1 movie in Thailand last week, earning US$166,355, according to Box Office Mojo.
Kati is the film adaptation of an award-winning youth novel by Thai writer and translator Ngamphan "Jane" Vejjajiva. The author is the sister of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. An opinion piece in The Nation by Jeerawat Na Thalang has more on what the premier thought of the movie and the high hopes being placed on it:
Abhisit said he loved the book, which won the S.E.A. Write Award in 2006, when he read it, and upon watching the film he told reporters that it was a warm-hearted tale that "teaches people how to find happiness".
With a recommendation like this - from the country's leader, no less - fans are bound to flock to cinemas to see it.
The producers, Sahamongkol Film International, hope the film helps raise spirits amid the current dampened economic sentiment.
Ngamphan said she used the minimalist style to write the book. Since it first went to press in 2003, there have been 58 editions and more than 250,000 copies have been sold.
In addition, rights for the book have been bought by publishers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, South Korea and China. In some countries the title has been changed to fit the market. For instance, in Germany, the book was renamed The House of Sixteen Jars [referring to the jars of canned foodstuffs kept by Kati's fastidious grandmother].
In second place was another first-week opener, Jim Carrey's Yes Man. The previous week's top two films, Adam Sandler's Bedtime Stories and the RS Film musical comedy Super Hap, were in third and fourth place respectively.
Other Thai films in the Top 10 were Deep in the Jungle in seventh, Happy Birthday in ninth and 4 Romances at No. 10.
The indie Anglo-Thai art film, Soi Cowboy, also opened in a limited release last week, but it doesn't appear on the Mojo chart at all. It's playing on one screen at Paragon Cineplex, and last I checked, was being given around two showtimes a day.
Tony Jaa's Ong-Bak 2 fell to 12th place after six weeks on the chart in Thailand. I'll have more about Ong-Bak 2 in a moment.