Friday, June 4, 2010

Comedy trio tops Thai box office for two weeks

Proving the resilience of Thai slapstick comedy, Sam Yan (สามย่าน), a three-story collaboration by directors Yuthlert Sippapak, Ping Lumprapleung and Jaroenporn “Kotee Aramboy” Onlamai for Film R Us, has been the No. 1 movie in Thailand for the past two weeks.

According to Box Office Mojo, Sam Yan earned $285,635, about 9.3 million baht, on its second weekend of release on May 27-30.

Opening weekend May 20-23, it earned $216,850, about 7 million baht, to laugh off the likes of Shrek Forever After, Robin Hood and The Losers.

Compared to previous weeks, overall box-office receipts were down by around half the weekend of May 20-23, when a curfew was imposed in the deadly and destructive violence that spread in the aftermath of the May 19 crackdown on the red-shirt political protests in Bangkok. That black weekend saw the arson blaze of the historic Siam Theatre and the torching of the CentralWorld shopping center, shuttering the 15-screen SF World Cinema, the country's largest multiplex.

B.O. totals have rebounded since the lifting of the nighttime curfew on May 29.

Other Thai films released in the past couple of weeks have not performed as strong as Sam Yan, which by the way is not playing anywhere with English subtitles.

Last weekend's new release, Sin Sisters 2, (ผู้หญิง 5 บาป 2, Phu Ying Ha Bap Song), opened in fourth place, earning $92,430 (about 3 million baht). Released by Mongkol Films, the sex comedy about five women being tortured into telling their sauciest secrets, is the first Thai commercial release to get the restrictive 20- classification under the Kingdom's new motion-picture ratings system. The required I.D. checks are apparently keeping younger moviegoers away.

Tony Jaa's historical martial-arts drama Ong-Bak 3 was hanging in 11th place, with a gross-to-date of around $1.3 million (43 million baht). The second of a pair of prequels to the smash-hit 2003 first entry, Ong-Bak 3 struggled against the Hollywood releases of Iron Man 2 and Robin Hood and its release during the political protests made it a comparatively weak performer. It has also had a poor critical reception.

The embattled action star has since become a monk, which is routine for Thai Buddhist men and usually only temporary, lasting about a month or so. But foreign websites and bloggers are speculating, perhaps wrongly, he will stay in the monkhood forever, or at least until his talent contract with studio Sahamongkolfilm International runs out.

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