Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ong-Bak 2 battles Red Cliff II, Ip Man and Variety

Outside of Thailand, Tony Jaa's Ong-Bak 2 has run into some heavy-hitting competition from Donnie Yen's Ip Man and John Woo's battle epic, Red Cliff II.

It was No. 2 in Singapore, where it officially opened over the weekend after a sneak-preview run the weekend before. According to data from the Cinematograph Film Exhibitors Association compiled on MovieXclusive, Ong-Bak 2 was behind John Woo's Red Cliff II and ahead of Donnie Yen's Ip Man. Box Office Mojo also has numbers and according to those, Red Cliff II pretty much rules.

In Hong Kong, Ong-Bak 2 has made a poor showing in its second week, according to the Golden Rock. It earned HK$159,000 from 35 screens and has made only HK$4.93 million after 11 days. The Rock compares this to Jaa and crew's Tom Yum Goong, which earned HK$10 million. Variety also has a story on last weekend's box office in Hong Kong, where Ip Man was No. 1 after four weeks.

Variety's Derek Elley caught Ong-Bak 2 in Singapore, and he's turned in a mixed review. Here's an excerpt:

Bone-crunching action triumphs over story and, uh, character development in costume chopsocky Ong-Bak 2, basically a series of fights peppered with flashbacks to provide a semblance of plot. Apart from also starring Thai martial artist du jour Tony Jaa, the pic has no connection at all with 2003 hit Ong-Bak and, though less varied as a movie, is a slicker piece of work in which the extra coin shows. Film zoomed to No. 1 on local release in early December, but in Western markets, Jaa's cold, machine-like persona will limit this to hardcore martial arts fans.

So it'll be interesting to see how Ong-Bak 2 performs at upcoming film markets. The deal-killer is that it's essentially a sequel in name only - it doesn't matter to overseas buyers that the Ong-Bak Buddha head appears at the end. Perhaps once Ong-Bak 3 wraps the two films can be bundled together to make a more attractive package.

In Thailand, Ong-Bak 2 has pretty much faded from cinemas. Last weekend, it fell to 12th place after six weeks on the chart. Meanwhile, the movie's producers at Sahamongkol Film International are waging war on the DVD pirates. Bangkok of the Mind has more on that.

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