Photos of Conan in Movies

Bangkok Adrenaline - How Did It Do?

Wednesday, 03 June 2009

Our movie, Bangkok Adrenaline, has finished its run in cinemas in Thailand - 7 weeks total, the longest run being in the touristic seaside resort - Pattaya. Bangkok Adrenaline was a cinematical success!

According to my knowledge in Thai cinema there several cut off points if your movie doesn't make monetary targets it is removed from cinema.

Bangkok Adrenaline made it past the two cut off points and was allowed to run until it stopped making profits.... 

Movies originally get a 4 day run in cinema to see if they are viable, for this reason Bangkok Adrenaline, and all movies in Thailand, are launched on a Thursday so the 4 day run covers the weekend when most movie goers visit the cinemas.

So come Monday 18th May with a little trepidation checked the screening times for Bangkok Adrenaline, and was pleasantly surprised to see it was still playing - good, with multiple showings per day - even better. That means it had past its initial test run and would continue.

For us this was more significant than any other movie we had acted in, for me a lot more significant. As the script writer the value of that Credit  would depend upon the movie being a success and making money. For future presentations of movie scripts to investors and potential partners the success of my only produced script (to date) will affect how I am received.

With a successful cinema run, DVD sales to follow in 2 months (which should be good considering the cinema reception), then TV release in about six to nine months after that. Add on top of that  International rights sales and Bangkok Adrenaline is a very successful movie, pulling in far more revenue than it cost to make.

For me to make a pitch in future projects the fact that I was the writer for a successful, PROFITABLE, movie carries a lot more weight since investors are primarily concerned about getting a return of investment and a return on investment. Making movies is a business, a risky business with lots of snakes and charlatans and shonky business practises, but it is a business and as such investors want to invest as safely as possible and get a good return on their capital.

In essence the Bangkok Adrenaline script is my report card, or reference from a former employer so to speak and as such has now opened a whole new area of opportunity for me as I am being taken more seriously by those who matter.

Funnily enough I spoke to 2 former agents the other day about working on seperate TV commercials. One thought I would be unavailable due to my success, the other was offering me a low paid, low level part as an extra and thought he was doing me a favour even when I offered him the advice that Bangkok Adrenaline was still in cinema, was making money, I wrote it and played a major role he failed to see the significance. Like people, not all agents are the same - try to get one that suits your personality and career outlook.

Time to get a real agent of quality, something I am already following up. With a known high quality agent I will be recieved more respectfully and be compensated better for my time. Working with bottom of the barrel agents is not in my best interests, and probably never was. Recommending a known actor (in his market) to take up extras roles is the most damaging thing an agent could possibly recommend to a rising actor. It is the equivalent of saying "You are doing really well now in your career, but I advise taking 3 big steps backwards".

Enough about agents for now, I have a lot more to say but I'll keep it for later.

So Bangkok Adrenaline made it past the first test run of 4 days, another test is how it does after 11 days, or the second weekend. If it makes it through this then a movie will generally continue to run until it finishes making a profit.

Something else to be kept in mind was the release date was probably the worst possible date on the entire calendar. I could not believe what Bangkok Adrenaline was going up against, in the opinions of several industry people I spoke to it was an 'interesting' release date to choose. 'Interesting' as in it'd be interesting to see what thought went into choosing that date.

Here is a list of movies playing at the same time as Bangkok Adrenaline, and as such were direct competition for bums on seats in cinemas;

  1. Angels & Demons
  2. Star Trek
  3. X-Men: Wolverine
  4. Hit Thai movie Saranae Haw Peng (3rd week of showing on the 14th)
  5. Crank 2
  6. Night At The Museum 2

Brilliant. Going head to head against 5 big budget major release US movies with big marketing budgets on opening weekend with a few others following the week after. Maybe there was a reason for this, if there was I cannot see it.

Oh yeah, Bangkok Adrenaline had a few posters up and 2 or 3 big banners displayed outside a few select locations. In essense a very small marketing budget. Originally planned were a couple of well thought out, cheap but potentially very effective "guerilla marketing" ideas. For some reason these were not put into play.  Someone in accounting trying to save money where it hurts?

Another sore point for myself, the other actors and reviewers is that Bangkok Adrenaline was released dubbed in Thai only. No English language release and no subtitles for the foreign dominated areas like Sukhumvit or Pattaya, and even worse no English subtitles for those who aren't so good with their Thai.

Apparently this is to stop the movie being filmed with a camera in cinema and then being uploaded to the internet and torrent sites, in fact a very smart move. If the English version or even Thai version in English language was uploaded it would drastically devalue the International rights sales which are still being finalised.

The currrent theory is that no one but Thais will want to watch Bangkok Adrenaline in the Thai language so there is little chance it will make it to the torrent sites and even from there not many foreign downloads will ensure.

(2015 UPDATE: The Thai version was indeed uploaded to the torrent sites very quickly but did not receive much popularity, however when released the English language  version reached the top #3 position on the major torrent site of the day - The Pirate Bay - a small consellation being that it was so popular, though the investors were not so pleased.)

Which also means that the DVD release of Bangkok Adrenaline is going to be all Thai with no subtitles, with the possibility of a English language version coming out in about 9 months time or more.

What does that mean to myself and the other actors?

  1. We cannot watch and evaluate our actual performances
  2. We cannot use the dubbed version for our acting showreel, though the action is usable, I have no usable action

The reason we all agreed to do the movie for little pay originally was to raise our profiles and get footage of us acting in an English language movie so we could use the new showreels to get us into other, more profitable markets, like the USA.

Now it looks like we won't get the footage for another year or so. Yet another violation of the original verbal agreements, but understandably so. The movie has to make as much profit as possible and deterring piracy in this way is a very good idea.  But it is disappointing never the less.

At least I have my writing credit.... or do I?

According to the Writers Guild Of America and to the IMDB submission rules for writers I should be credited as a script writer but I have been given the lesser credit for writting the screenplay, meaning I adapted it from a play or short story, which was not the case.

But rather than get negative about a few things that are entirely disagreeable on a professional level, I can say that Bangkok Adrenaline, our movie, a team effort, with leadership by Raimund Huber was a success both financially and artistically. Even the Thai language reviews were positive, which is something we weren't expecting at all.

So how has this all been for me personally recently, well it is hard to tell exactly because:

"Som Tam" was played on Thai cable TV last night, and is playing on rotation all this month

"Bangkok Adrenaline" is doing constant trade in cinema and many people are recognising me in the street from it

The comedy hit of 3 years ago - "Bodyguard 2" - played on free to air TV two nights ago.

I appeared on all the national TV stations on the news at the launch of " Bangkok Adrenaline" + being in many magazines and in some newspapers (I only just found out).

The movie "E-tim" is in 7-11 stores (one on just about every street corner in suburban Thailand) - the staff at my local all went quiet the other day when I walked in and I heard whispered Thai with the words "E-Tim" as they all looked at me expectantly. No one actually willing to ask me directly if it was me, it is nice here the Thais are so polite with things like this.

And yes, the rumours have started already. I won't go into details nor dwell on it. An Amway spokesperson said once "If people are stabbing you in the back, then you must be in front of them."

Ahhh, the price of fame. How wonderful. Yet another reason Actors are sometimes snobbish, it's safer...

 *UPDATE: Bangkok Adrenaline ended up having a 7 week run in cinema all from word of mouth advertising and a trailer showing in cinema prior to release.

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