September 28, 2006


an 84 minute mess called THE PROTECTORSo how did the Weinstein Company's release of THE PROTECTOR do at the US box office? This was the widest release any Thai film has ever received in North America, and the film was terrible: not great to begin with, but re-edited into incomprehensible mush.

Here's a handy comparison chart that I made myself with scissors and glue:

screens: 1,541
# of weeks: 2.5
total: $11 million
per screen average: $3,266

ONG BAK (2005)
screens: 387
# of weeks: 11
total: $4.5 million
per screen average: $3,449

# of weeks:18 weeks
total:$11 million
per screen average:$1,461

HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS is a tough one to compare it with, since it started in limited release and then expanded, which threw off its per screen average (which was something like $22,000 on its opening weekend). But from this I get the picture that there's a limited audience for Asian action movies no matter what kind of publicity you put behind them. You seem to top out around $10 million. I would think this means we should expect many more limited releases in the future. The Weinsteins should be so lucky to get the press and the cash from a $10 million grossing release, and if they plan accordingly they can limit their losses. If the numbers are right they only need around 400 prints to hit their magic number. And that's a good thing, because it means now that the marketplace has been defined we can expect to see more movies get released.

THE PROTECTOR might have legs, but I doubt it. It's had a 50-60% drop-off for each week it's in release. So we're probably seeing the end of its box office life right around now.

(all numbers courtesy of Box Office Mojo)

September 28, 2006 at 12:53 PM in News | Permalink


The Weinsteins picked up North American and Latin American rights to THE PROTECTOR for about $2 million, so THE PROTECTOR will be very profitable for The Weinsteins after DVD sales, TV sales and overseas revenues.

(According to Chinese press, Sony paid much more muney to acquire HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS)

Posted by: no name | Sep 28, 2006 1:20:11 PM

Sorry.... I mean much more money, not "muney"

Posted by: no name | Sep 28, 2006 1:22:27 PM

i still need to see it - so it will make $11,000,010.50 total

Posted by: me | Sep 28, 2006 1:27:24 PM

We can look at the opening weekend numbers for "Jet Li's Fearless" and see that it almost surpassed the total gross of the other ones mentioned here.

$10.6 mill, 1806 screens, $5863 per screen.

I guess the lesson in this case is you still have to go with a marquee name like Jet Li in order to pack 'em in.

Posted by: Al | Sep 28, 2006 1:33:38 PM

It didn't tank, but it sure wasn't a smashing success.

The studio only gets about half of the total B.O. gross, and after prints and advertising (I saw quite a few ads on cable, didn't you?) I highly doubt The Protector will do anything better then break even, its probably incurred a modest loss.

But then again its been well positioned for video. Ong-Bak and Kung Fu Hustle did great on DVD and in rentals, I would expect The Protector to do pretty well for itself in the secondary market. Its going to be profitable, but will it be profitable enough so the Weinstiens feel confident about pushing another Asian action film in wide release?

I don't know, but I'm guessing they were taking a "wait-and-see" approach with The Protector about what to do with the rest of their 'Dragon Dynasty' titles. We haven't heard much about that recently, have we?

Oh, and **** the Weinstiens, just because.

Posted by: Max K. | Sep 28, 2006 1:39:30 PM

JET LI'S FEARLESS is PG-13, and THE PROTECTOR is rated R. Here is the big difference.

Posted by: no name | Sep 28, 2006 1:40:10 PM

I don't think the Weinstiens expect THE PROTECTOR to become a box-office hit in the United States.

If The Weinstiens had high hope on the film, they would had sent this movie to MGM. (The Weinstiens sends 99% of their movies to MGM) But the Weinstiens finally choosed to release THE PROTECTOR in theaters themselves. They release THE PROTECTOR in theaters only for helping this movie to do better on DVD sales and TV sales. THE PROTECTOR should do ver well on DVD market and help Tony Jaa to get more fans. And then, next Tony Jaa movie should get more box office gross in the United States. (Like the case of TRANSPORTER series)

Posted by: no name | Sep 28, 2006 1:48:10 PM

As a big fan of Tony Jaa, I went out to support the comparatively unmolsted Ong-Bak, even though I'd already seen it maybe 10 times.

Harvey lost my theatrical and dvd business on T-Y-G because he gutted it. I'll have to be content with my import copies and Harvey can count me as lost revenue.

I'm certain I'm not the only one...

Posted by: klucker | Sep 29, 2006 7:04:59 AM

"JET LI'S FEARLESS is PG-13, and THE PROTECTOR is rated R. Here is the big difference."

Not really. Both films are targeted to the same audience.

Posted by: the running man | Sep 29, 2006 8:28:01 AM

This was a great movie and Tony Jaa is very talented.

Posted by: FireX4IceX | Sep 29, 2006 9:09:21 AM

Grady, you realize that over at Twitch in their 'Tony Jaa' interview that you've been accused of being a 'nancy boy'? Being more a reader of Kaijushakedown than Twitch, I think you should also wrestle Panom, but kick it up a notch and pinky wrestle. That'd be manly. That'd show em' who's the 'nancy boy'. ;)

There weren't any ads for TYG, The Protector where I live. I'm not even sure it showed here. I probably wouldn't have gone to see it anyway. How many times can you watch an Ong Bak Remix?

Posted by: Screamingmimi | Sep 29, 2006 9:35:20 AM

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