Lost In Thailand Breaks Mainland China Box Office Records
Lost In Thailand is a low-budget slapstick comedy about business rivals bumbling their way through a foreign land. Some are comparing it to The Hangover Part 2 - for its pratfalls and outrageous silliness set in Thailand.
But what makes Lost In Thailand especially noteworthy is that (out of nowhere) the film is shattering all time mainland Chinese box office records as 2012 draws to a close.
And, unlike prior big hits in Chinese theaters in 2012, Lost In Translation was made for very little money without a Hollywood backer.
How big are the numbers for Lost In Thailand?
After only two weeks in theaters, Lost In Thailand is on course to top the all-time Chinese box office records set by Titanic 3D that captured a total 977 million yuan (US$ 156.5 million) in China earlier this year.
Already Lost In Thailand has set impressive marks for "the highest revenue in a single day (160 million yuan / US$ 25.6 million on Dec. 15) and in a first week (310 million yuan / US$ 49.7 million) – an amazing achievement... given the absence of 3D or Imax mark-ups."
Lost In Thailand is the directorial debut of comedian Xu Zheng who also appears in the film.
Without any apparent political or historical significance - the film has struck a chord with mainland Chinese audiences.
Since (by some estimates) the Chinese theatrical market will be the largest in the world by 2020, film business prognosticators are watching Lost In Thailand closely:
How much money can a movie targeted narrowly at a Chinese audience make?
Will the Chinese box office continue to open up to Western films - or will domestic Chinese films (like Lost In Thailand) become increasingly popular - soaking up access to screens and dollars that Hollywood desperately wants?
Will China's current love affair with theatrical motion pictures continue - perhaps supporting a boom in Chinese-made films while also keeping Hollywood afloat as old revenue streams dry up - or will an expected explosion in Chinese access to broadband (representing less than 3% of the market on the mainland in 2012) revolutionize China's market for movies yet again?
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Thoughts from a film producer about making and distributing films.