Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Buppha Rahtree scalps Basterds at Thai box office

Inglourious Basterds might have been No 1 everywhere else, but in Thailand, it was the horror-comedy-romance Buppha Rahtree 3.2: Rahtree's Revenge that reigned supreme at the box office.

According to the Box Office Mojo chart for August 20-23, Buppha Rahtree 3.2, distributed by Sahamongkol Film International, was at No. 1, earning US$300,720 (about 10 million baht) from 93 screens.

Basterds, distributed by United International Pictures, wasn't even in second place. That spot was held by another UIP release, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which was still showing on 104 screens in its third week. Basterds only burned up on 59 screens.

After Quentin Tarantino's talky World War II action comedy, Sahamongkol's action-drama-romance Jija: Deu Suay Du (Raging Phoenix) was in fourth. Jija, starring Chocolate martial-arts heroine Jija Yanin, had debuted at No. 2 the week before.

In fifth was the Phranakorn musical comedy E-Som Somwang Cha Cha Cha (In Country Melody 2).

Other new releases last weekend were a limited run for Coco avant Chanel and the creepy-kid thriller Orphan, which had bowed the week before in a sneak preview run.

Interestingly, Orphan is censored, with noticeable cuts, according to the Thomat Chiang Mai Film Blog, which tracks showtimes and movie releases in northern Thailand's Chiang Mai.

Presumably because of its early bow in sneak previews, Orphan didn't fall under Thailand's newly enacted ratings system, which assigns age ratings as an advisory to audiences. Under the old censorship system, in place since 1930, films were cut and blurred if they were deemed inappropriate for general audiences.

Inglourious Basterds and Buppha Rahtree 3.2 were the first two films to be released under the new ratings system.

Distributors in Thailand now expect delays because of the ratings system, which has a part-time multi-discipline seven-member review board that can only watch one film a day.

Three films are set for release this week: The Thai horror-romance Fan Kao (My Ex) from RS Film's Avant studio, the animated feature Ponyo and the teen musical Bandslam. As of last week, only Ponyo had been assigned a rating -- approved for general audiences.

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