August 28, 2006


MERCURY MAN, a big budget Thai superhero movie

Sahamongkol is probably the biggest and most internationally successful production company in Thailand with ONG BAK, TOM YUM GONG, and BORN TO FIGHT all under their belts. But they seem to have hit a run of bad luck lately. First there was the infighting surrounding the Federation of the National Film Association earlier this year which saw the head of Sahamongkol, Somsak Techratanaprasert, dealt a resounding vote of no confidence in his role as head of the FNFA and he stepped down from his role there. Then came their movie, CHAI LAI'S ANGELS, a Thai "girls with guns" flick that did okay business at the box office but is excruciating to watch.

This month saw them release MERCURY MAN, a big budget Thai superhero movie (budgeted at about US$1.1 million, which is twice the budget of most Thai films). The film was given a mild sniff by local critics and bowed with a first week gross of 12 million baht (about US$320,000) which is a disappointing figure for all invovled. Director Bandid Thongdee says, "Maybe Thai audience still doubt whether a homegrown superhero will be as exciting to watch as 'Spider-man' or 'Superman'. However, we believe that the film has a strong potential for international sales." Whether it sinks or finds its legs and swims, MERCURY MAN is Sahamongkol's centerpiece of its international sales plan. This is all reminiscent of the early 2000's when Hong Kong companies where risking the farm on big, international productions that weren't Hong Kong enough to excite foreign buyers, but were too international to really make it at home.

Now, Sahamongkol has become the latest company caught in the "My movie has offended someone," sweepstakes. First it was GHOST GAME, then it was LUCKY LOSER, and now it's CADAVER. Originally called AJAAN YAI, a term of respect for a body donated to science, this aroused the ire of a bunch of doctors. So the movie has now changed its name to SOPE, or "Corpse."  Wisekwai posts this statement from Sahamongkol:

"We're doing everything we can to comply with the requests of the group in order to be able to release the film on schedule," the Sahamongkol Film marketing director Awika Techaratanaprasert is quoted as saying. "We have already called back all the promotional materials they found offensive and have put out information to make it clear that this is a work of fiction, not a true story."

You can see a trailer of CADAVER here and judge for yourself: would you spend money to see this movie?

August 28, 2006 at 10:38 AM in News | Permalink


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