Until now, more than 25 asian films have been released in France. Making it maybe one of the luckiest country in the West when it comes to asian films releases. But, luck isn’t enough, let’s see the box office sales for the major films released between January and August 2009.
Name of the film: numbers of viewers/theaters:
The Warlords: 80,000/74;
20th Century Boys: 6,000/9;
The Chaser: 60,000/55;
Tokyo Sonata: 55,000/29;
Red Cliff: 500,000/326;
Still Walking: 100,000/58;
United Red Army: 2,500/4;
Sword of the Stranger: 2,500/5;
Ong Bak 2: 250,000/251;
For most films, it’s clearly a flop. And it’s disappointing judging the distributors’ efforts.
• Bad numbers because it’s crisis? Nope, according to Variety “French box office outpaces 2008, Admissions 2.6% ahead of last year“.
• Bad numbers because of bad marketing? Some films’ posters were everywhere, the subway, the bus stations, the radio, tv… Like any other normal films.
• Bad numbers because of bad reviews? Some films were on the covers of respected magazines (Les Cahiers du cinema, Positif), with good reviews. Still, numbers aren’t good. Where is the influence of the press?
• … because bad films? How could anyone think Ponyo is a bad film? Only fools!
• … because “Asian Cinema”? The “Asian Cinema”-label has become a cliché a la Author Cinema. Something boring, complicated you don’t want to try even though you don’t know what it is. People wants to watch (good) films.
• … because, where are the fans? Most of them are too busy keeping their knowledge instead of sharing it? Many french blogs, boards and websites are almost dead. No activity, no community, no nothing. And new releases are still coming!
• … because of cut versions? If Red Cliff attracted only 500,000viewers with its international cut, what’d have happened with the original 5-hours-long version. It seems like suicide. Somehow, even cut versions made for the West aren’t interesting westerners.
• … ?
Numbers are based on BOM‘s ones. They’re loosely rounded up.