December 19th, 2007
I decided not to write an entry last night because 1) There wasn’t enough news to cover, and 2) Most box office figures weren’t out yet, especially for the I am Legend vs. The Warlords battle in Hong Kong. Turns out those Sunday box office figures came out later last night, after I decided not to write an entry and did something more worthwhile with my time (read: stuff I get paid to do with deadlines attached). Then it was too late, as now.com has already posted the Monday numbers. It’s ok, though, because I was blessed with the gift of subtraction.
- Thanks to the sheer number of screens, The Warlords win over I am Legend by making HK$8.55 million over 4 days from 68-71 screens. Meanwhile, the Will Smith apocalyptic drama made HK$7.77 million from 55-61 screens (how these films gain and lose screens I have no idea). So in per-screen averages, I am Legend actually beats The Warlords. However, one excuse for that is that The Warlords runs half an hour longer than I Am Legend, hence one less show per day. That means these two are actually pretty much neck-to-neck in terms of box office success. Of course, with 10 more screens, The Warlords is going to win in pure cash, and it has much more positive word-of-mouth that Legend right now. So in the long run, I predict The Warlords will be the winner of the season, unless The Golden Compass has some latent potential.
Do remember that at least half the theaters in Hong Kong have a price inflation system for both Legend and Warlords, which means their grosses are inflated by about 5-10% than a film at normal ticket prices.
Looking at other opening films, Alvin and the Chipmunks managed to make HK$1.31 million over 4 days from about 30 screens, with business seeing a significant rise over the weekend. Considering that it already saw decreased shows per screen (I don’t remember seeing any showings for it after 8 pm), it’s a respectable figure. The French animated film Persepolis (saw this yesterday and liked it) opened on 2 screens (one with the French version, one with the English) and made a respectable HK$137,000 over 4 days.
As for holdovers, Mad Detective is hanging on, with HK$10.79 million in the bank as of Monday, and so did Lust, Caution, which still managed a HK$10,000-and-above per-screen average on Monday, despite it being released on DVD this week. Lastly, Tokyo Tower passed the HK$5 million mark, while Danny Pang’s In Love With the Dead will likely not get there with just HK$4.85 million and counting.
- Variety Asia has a report on how The Warlords did in the other territories, including a pretty huge opening in China.
- I am Legend, meanwhile, opened on top of the Japanese box office with 580 million yen over two days from 422 screens. That opening is 115% of I, Robot’s opening, which led to a final gross of 3.75 billion yen. However, the word-of-mouth on it isn’t very good (scroll slightly down to see the vote results), but big Hollywood blockbusters tend to have some legs, and it’ll pass the 2 billion yen mark anyway.
Meanwhile, the Tamagotchi movie (yes, that Tamagotchi) opens at third place, while last week’s winner Mari and the Three Puppies loses only 18% of last week’s business. On the other hand, major fall hits Koizora and Always 2 both drop by nearly 40%. With big year-end movies opening, Tsubaki Sanjuro and Beowulf are losing their businesses big time, dropping by 36% and 53%, respectively. Neither films are likely to each the 1 billion yen mark now. Lastly, the Korean hit comedy 200 Pounds Beauty opened fairly weak at 12th place and a per-screen average of less than $1,200.
- In Korea, I Am Legend opened at first with nearly one million admissions, while Sex is Zero 2 opens at second place with a fairly impressive gross (no pun intended) as well. More details at Korea Pop Wars.
Meanwhile, in box office-related news from Korea, producers have been suffering from low ancillary income (DVD, TV, etc) as well as foreign sales. So now they’re turning to the last resort: raise ticket prices.