Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Old man and his flying house crowd Roommate out

Roommate, a teen-oriented musical romance, opened as the No. 2 movie at the Thai box office the weekend before last, but taking in just 7.4 million baht, or around US$222,000, it's considered a failure, according to Bangkok of the Mind, which cites a Manager report.

Those figures are reflected on the just-updated Box Office Mojo chart, with Roommate taking a solid trouncing by the Pixar animated feature, Up, about a crotchety old widower who embarks on an adventure by attaching helium balloons to his house.

Roommate is about flatmates -- two guys and two girls -- who form a rock band and have their friendship tested by the addition of a new singer, who's an old girlfriend of one of the guys. Released in cinemas without English subtitles, it doesn't seem like a promising start for motif+, the former Mono Film.

Roommate had originally been set to star Love of Siam heartthrob Mario Maurer, who backed out of the project, apparently after having been paid 200,000 baht. Mono is now suing Mario and his former manager "Coco" Nirun Limsomwong to try and get its money back, plus damages. Mario, according to Lyn's Lakorns, doesn't seem bothered in the least by the controversy.

A second Thai release over the June 11-14 weekend, the imaginative children's comedy-romance Dek-Khong, directed by Taweewat Wantha and released by Sahamongkol Film International, had an even more disappointing spot on the chart, coming in fifth place and earning around $99,000.

The top five is rounded out by Terminator Salvation, dropping to third place after being No. 1 the previous couple of weeks, and Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, which dropped two places from debuting the previous weekend at No. 2.

Drag Me to Hell I can get behind -- a solidly entertaining and suspenseful effort. But Terminator Salvation is completely lame and ridiculous. In terms of the Terminator storyline, it never happened. Forget about it. Go watch reruns of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Sadly, it'll probably be the explosive insanity of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen that sits atop the chart for the next couple of weeks, because that's the kind of movie being more heavily marketed than anything else.

Another Thai film, 2022 Tsunami was in 11th place after three weeks after peaking at fourth place over its opening weekend on May 28-31. The disaster flick's poor performance had so depressed director-producer Toranong Srichua -- who boasted of spending 160 million baht to make it -- that he had reportedly threatened to commit suicide, but was talked out of it.

The always controversial Toranong had also resorted to forcing prospective cast members for his next film to starve themselves, though he denied it was a publicity stunt.

2 comments:

  1. I have to wonder if commercial Thai cinema will get back on track after reading the box office report. I would hate to see it be nothing but martial arts films. It's almost as if, after achieving some degree of international recognition for some films, Thai cinema is not only regressing back to films only Thais will see, but worse, making films even Thais won't see. The failure to have English subtitles on DVDs for films that would have critical and international interest also is shortsighted, especially for an industry that does not have the kind of audience base that would be found in the U.S. or Japan.

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  2. Even more old ways are being reverted to with the omission of English subs in the theatrical releases. I'm seeing it more and more and I find it a worrisome trend.

    So far, it's only been on films for "Thai" audiences that I didn't really care to see anyway. But I suspect it may become more prevalent as a way to combat piracy. No longer are the studios content to leave the subs off only DVDs as they come to terms with the onslaught of video cams and piracy in the digital age.

    On the bright side, I suppose if I no longer have Thai films to watch and write about, I can find time to finally take language lessons.

    It'll be interesting to see in the coming weeks how the releases of such high-profile films as Nymph and Wongkamlao hold up against such over-hyped Hollywood fare as Transformers and Ice Age 3.

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