Friday, June 23, 2006

Jiggery-pokery box-office figures

What? A film studio cooking the books on its box office figures? That's what Soopsip in The Nation on Wednesday was talking about.

The Thai film industry likes to market itself as robust by inflating its box-office figures, and it's able to do so because the system it uses to calculate those figures is complicated, and has become even more complicated with the increase in multiplex screens and the move in the past couple of years to start the "weekend" box office count on Thursdays, rather than Fridays.

Soopsip goes on to explain how revenue from the Bangkok screenings is split between the cinemas and the studios, while in the past the studios sold the film to provincial exhibitors for a set price. That's changed, apparently.

Somehow, it boils down to the studios just out and out making up figures when they talk about revenue to the press.

For example, Tom Yum Goong made 183.5 million baht (about US$4.78 million) in the Bangkok metro area, according to Flicks, a magazine that is considered the most reliable source for box office takings (which appears to be the source Box Office Mojo uses).

Yet Sahamongkol Films claim says Tom Yum Goong earned 300 million baht from nationwide screenings - Bangkok combined with the screenings at far-flung provincial cinemas.

As Soopsip says: "The sums simply don't add up".

The animated flick Khan Kluay celebrated reaching the magic 100-million-baht mark two weeks yet figures for June 8-11 show earnings of only 87.1 million baht.

Noo Hin: The Movie earned around 40 million baht, according to Flicks, but the company - again Sahamongkol - says the film has made twice that.

Hmm. They must be packing them in at the Apex in Chacheongsao and The Mall Korat.

(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)

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