Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

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Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Tue Dec 08, 2009 5:08 am

I know there's a way to view the movies in the DB by year, but only via a special link that someone provided long ago in one of the forums here, and which I can no longer find, much to my frustration, as I know I contributed to it in the first place. :( If anyone can point me in the direction of the thread where it was provided, I'd be grateful. :D

Anyways, I just watched this movie today, and while I can't say I particularly share the general consensus here and around the web (that's it a decent movie), one outside review in particular, namely "expert" John Charles' at his own website, contains a bit of information that puzzles me:

John Charles wrote:**If that catastrophe were not enough of a hindrance to On's career [he's referring to BLACK MASK 2], PERFECT opened during the SARS crisis and sank without a trace.


As Charles no longer cares about Hong Kong cinema (only enough to get an UN-updated version of his now-outdated book back on the market to keep making money off of it), I know he won't help out here, but it's these kinds of comments, presented as fact, that stick in my craw no matter where they appear on the web, and make me wonder just how much research was done to validate such a claim. This info in turn made it's way into at least one review of the film in our database barely more than a month after Charles' went up at his site.

Here's my thinking:

Our DB says the movie made HK $1,089,427.00 (I'm assuming this to be true, of course)

That translates into roughly $140,000 US, give or take.

Assuming a ticket to a Hong Kong movie costs around HK $70 (or about $9 US), which I suspect is at the high end of the pricing range (I've found sites saying tickets, now, range from HK $40-70), then this works out to approximately a bit more than 15,000 people paying to see the movie.

Granted, those are small numbers by certain measures, but for a Hong Kong movie, in Hong Kong, in 2003, during the SARS crisis, is this really a "sank without a trace" kind of figure? Surely other movies at the time may have taken in far less? Others far more?

This is where I'm curious to see what the box-office takes were for other movies throughout 2003, but particularly prior to and just after the release of this one.

Yes, I'm fixating, and frankly, I'm surprised this movie even drew 15,000 people, but I suppose the cast, director and producer probably held some sway, even in scary times. In other words, considering the boxoffice performance of Hong Kong cinema in general around this time, 15,000 bums on seats was possibly a decent haul for a movie of this sort, which leads me to think Charles' generalization is completely without context (thus giving me another reason to be wary of buying his book).

Thoughts?
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:18 pm

It reminds me of when people state that Dragon Lord was a flop (http://hkmdb.com/db/movies/view.mhtml?i ... ay_set=eng) yet here it is stated as 17 million HK (though I have read elsewhere as 10 million, neither are bad figures for early 80s).

That number does seem low, but I completely agree with you we need to see how other films did during that year.

I've been wanting to ask this question for ages: where does this database get its Box Office figures? Are we using multiple sources? Why don't we have more information flagged.

There used to be a link for this site (http://www.hkdmb.com/office/index-en.shtml) that used to show the box office (I got this from the David Bordwell book).
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:13 pm

The labeling of movies as "flops" and such has long been sticky issue for me, no matter where in the world it happens, and I tend to avoid it in my own writing, unless I know there's proof out there. I haven't checked the box-office for all the Jackie Chan movies of that era, for example, so perhaps DRAGON LORD wasn't as strong a performer as some of his other films of the period, but indeed, HK$17 million (actually closer to $18 million as I see now) is nothing to sneeze at, no matter whether it's in "today" dollars or 1982 dollars, and it represents a sizable number of people paying to see the film in theatres.

Granted, LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT can't hold a candle to DRAGON LORD, but few Hong Kong movies in 2003 could,. Look at the state of Hong Kong's industry circa 2003; I doubt there are many pictures that even cracked the HK $10 million mark. This is not to say that MISTER PERFECT, with it's HK $1 million-plus haul, was a runaway success, it wasn't. But I think it needs to be placed in context; otherwise, nearly every film released would likely be considered a flop (at least by Charles' measure, and he actually liked this one to a certain degree!)

I have no problem with someone labeling a movie a critical flop, as those are a dime a dozen, then as now, although today, too many people (for my liking) seem to think that internet fan reaction and blog reviews should be lumped in with professional critical analysis when deciding whether a film is a critical smash or a critical disaster, but there's simply too much amateur commentary out there these days for anyone to seriously consider it part of a true critical consensus, as it invariably runs the spectrum from "horrible" to "unmitigated classic" no matter what the film. It's no less important in its own way, but it's rarely written by film scholars or people with long histories of studying the form. Pre-internet, "critical consensus" was, if I recall correctly, widely held to be a sort of aggregate position on a film based on the available, professional reviews for it, which might lean pro, or lean con, or even fall somewhere in the middle, but usually written by people who did it for a living.

But when it comes to box office disasters in a film industry like Hong Kong's, how can one adequately measure such a thing? There are movies in the DB from the 2000's (maybe even 2003) that have box office tallies under HK$10,000. Decent films, weak films, shot-on-video stuff, many with decent casts and serious ambitions, you name it. And they played in theatres. Sure, some such films might have only screened in one or two theatres, and for only a few days, just so the producers could say their film got a theatrical release, but the fact remains that they did play on the big screen, and they made a hell of a lot less money than MISTER PERFECT, but that film, in John Charles' estimation, is an abject financial bomb.

I also don't doubt that SARS played some role in keeping people out of theatres, but obviously 15,000 of them chose to see this one on the big screen in the city near the height of a major international health crisis, which is why I'm curious to see box office tallies for other films during those same months. I have a feeling that movie houses in Hong Kong weren't sitting idle, even if attendance understandably declined from numbers that probably weren't exactly stellar to begin with. Barely two months earlier, BLACK MASK 2, a comparative critical bomb often tied to MISTER PERFECT because both became sort-of debut vehicles for Andy On, attracted nearly three times the viewers, but it did have a "franchise" behind it, as well as a much higher concept, so it was probably to be expected.

Does any of this make MISTER PERFECT an unqualified success? Of course not. But I'd be curious to know it's budget, and how much it was earned back from that modest theatrical release and eventual DVD/VCD sales (meager though they may be, some copies must have sold). If the thing turns out to have cost HK$20 million to make, then HK$1 million at the box office is a very poor showing, but it just doesn't look like it cost that much. The locations were like provided in contra by the Malaysian resort for a feature length commercial, and the opening sequence in Hong Kong doesn't exactly look like it would cost a fortune to stage.


I've been wanting to ask this question for ages: where does this database get its Box Office figures? Are we using multiple sources? Why don't we have more information flagged.


I've wondered about this myself. I've generally assumed it comes from HKFA or some other such reliable source. Variety keeps track of Hong Kong box-office statistics to this day, but I doubt that's where we get our information (though we probably could, as we're missing it for a LOT of recent movies):
http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout ... ong%20Kong

.
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:43 pm

I have no problem with someone labeling a movie a critical flop, as those are a dime a dozen, then as now, although today, too many people (for my liking) seem to think that internet fan reaction and blog reviews should be lumped in with professional critical analysis when deciding whether a film is a critical smash or a critical disaster, but there's simply too much amateur commentary out there these days for anyone to seriously consider it part of a true critical consensus, as it invariably runs the spectrum from "horrible" to "unmitigated classic" no matter what the film. It's no less important in its own way, but it's rarely written by film scholars or people with long histories of studying the form. Pre-internet, "critical consensus" was, if I recall correctly, widely held to be a sort of aggregate position on a film based on the available, professional reviews for it, which might lean pro, or lean con, or even fall somewhere in the middle, but usually written by people who did it for a living.


I think "critical consensus" can still be used but I agree that it should not be lumped in with amateur consensus. It is important that if you use aggregate consensus that you respect the aggregate :D. They Shoot Pictures Don't They use this type of compilation for their yearly 1000 movie list (of course CITIZEN KANE is number one :D).

Now I do not eschew non-professional writers (always read the reviews here), but I always take in consideration how it is written, who it is (especially if I know of them), are they just trolling etc... I tend to avoid/ignore anytime you see "best movie ever" or "worst movie ever" or "this movie changed my life". Those are red flags.

Another type of statement I sometimes read that annoys me (aside from this flop issue :)) is the one that makes a statement like this one at allmovie.com for Project A2: "This slapstick martial arts film is often regarded as superior to the original Project A. " which of course
is malarkey. It is sometimes regarded as superior (John Charles for example), but often is not true.


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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:29 pm

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:I think "critical consensus" can still be used but I agree that it should not be lumped in with amateur consensus. It is important that if you use aggregate consensus that you respect the aggregate :D.


I have the utmost respect for the aggregate. In fact, if installed and used properly, it can last the lifetime of your home, and the range of stone colors available go with any decor. Truly the product of tomorrow . . . today!

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Now I do not eschew non-professional writers (always read the reviews here), but I always take in consideration how it is written, who it is (especially if I know of them), are they just trolling etc... I tend to avoid/ignore anytime you see "best movie ever" or "worst movie ever" or "this movie changed my life". Those are red flags.


I'm with you on giving non-pro writers (heck, I am one, despite going to school for it) a fair shake, only in a different context, and for the very reasons you mention: there's just too much of this "best/worst movie ever" hyperbole and too often the writing style reveals the approximate age range of the writer. (of course, I'm speaking of writers/bloggers/forum writers for whom English is a first language. I make obvious concessions to those writing in it as a secondary language). I can overlook spelling/grammar etc., but unrestrained hyperbole—pro or con—based on limited personal experience, or in reaction to some perceived internet consensus, is always suspect, at least to these eyes. I'm glad there are 15-year olds out there who clearly and dearly love movies, but I'll take their opinions with a grain of salt, even as they've grown up in an era where nearly everything from everywhere is available on DVD.

I guess my personal tastes are such that I like to read writers and scholars who sound like they've done their research. Of course, maybe they have, maybe they haven't, but HK Digital's review of MISTER PERFECT illustrates what I think to be the latter, and an assumption at best. I mean, if a seeming malcontent like me can turn it into an "issue" here because he can't find enough information to corroborate it elsewhere, then I have to suspect the source more than I would if he'd never made the claim at all. I try to do research for my own meager reviews here when the movie warrants it or I think I might find some little nugget of info that no one else has, but if I come up largely empty-handed, or if explaining that particular nugget of info would stretch my review to a million words, I usually leave it out.

Another type of statement I sometimes read that annoys me (aside from this flop issue :)) is the one that makes a statement like this one at allmovie.com for Project A2: "This slapstick martial arts film is often regarded as superior to the original Project A. " which of course is malarkey. It is sometimes regarded as superior (John Charles for example), but often is not true.


Another valid point, I think. If I were to guess—and it would be just that, a guess—based on materials I've read, which is obviously not everything there is to read on the subject, PROJECT A II is a fairly highly regarded film by a great many critics, though not without its detractors I'm sure, though I think the latter may be outnumbered, especially in regards to the first film. I'm not sure that kind of comment has a place in a review anyways, except to pad out the length. Mind you, if someone included the indisputable fact that it was a box-office success on its home soil, I'd have no problem because it's easily researched (even here: HK $30+ million in less than a month. Nice.).

Hopefully this won't look like we're just picking on Charles (not that he ever hangs out here anyways), because generalizing like that happens at all levels of movie appreciation, and inevitably moreso at the amateur end. Again, if there exists wide, researchable, professional critical consensus that a movie is superior, like CITIZEN KANE, for example, and that information is put forth by a recognized scholar or critic (or someone who is clearly trying hard to be one), then I have no problem, but when you get down to movies like PROJECT A II, I almost think it's safer to err on the side of caution—especially in capsule reviews like the ones at AllMovie—with at best a simple reference to it's impressive box-office performance, which outdid its predecessor regardless of any overall consensus or personal opinions, rather than a generalization that leaves room for the opposing viewpoint to hold water (such as a thus-equally-valid claim that PROJECT A II is often considered to be inferior to the first film).
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Wed Dec 09, 2009 10:33 pm

You will have to wait for my review to see if I think Project A 2 is better or worse then the original :D. Since I have been doing research on the second film I think you can see why I have been referring to that movie in these posts. Project A2 is indeed held in respect by many critics. Some writings hold both films in high esteem so it is hard to gleem which one they like better (like in Videohound Dragon: Asian Action & Cult Flicks).

even as they've grown up in an era where nearly everything from everywhere is available on DVD

I am still amazed on how many people lie or exagerrate what they have watched. But I am so glad that so much is available for us to study from and enjoy. I do get annoyed when too many things become OOP (EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED though luckily I have this or THE ODD ONE DIES -- FYI there is a good chance that Johnnie To directed several scenes in this one as well) or are still not available on DVD (like CITY OF SADNESS -- not counting the OOP non-subtitles Taiwanese release; can you believe THE AMAZON QUEEN still does not have an official R1 release)

I hate when you read material and find out that it is fradulent. I still take so much reading with a grain of salt. Later when I review the Bordwell book I am going to post some material for you or others to crosscheck to make sure that it is false. The more you read and learn the more it is easier to find false material in all these books (even the great ones).

Hopefully this won't look like we're just picking on Charles (not that he ever hangs out here anyways)

I like Charles and like what he has read. I do think it is fair to pick on anyone :D, but I do appreciate what I have learned from reading from him. Now I do not like that he has given up on HK cinema when there is so much good material coming out.

I think a mod should move this conversation to a new thread :D.
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:28 pm

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:. . . or THE ODD ONE DIES -- FYI there is a good chance that Johnnie To directed several scenes in this one as well)


From what I gather—I haven't read that Stephen Teo book you've mentioned here—To actually directed, or mostly directed, three of "Yau's" pictures: ODD ONE DIES, EXPECTED THE UNEXPECTED and LONGEST NITE. In light of Yau's later work, this is tough to argue, especially when the man admits it himself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milkyway_I ... ontroversy
They're much more in To's style than they are in Yau's, which is immediately evident when you watch LOSER'S CLUB, which came after them. I remember, having enjoyed those three pictures so much, anxiously sitting down to LOSER'S and thinking, "this is the same guy that directed those other three? What's he been smoking?" It just didn't add up, even back then.



can you believe THE AMAZON QUEEN still does not have an official R1 release)


I read somewhere recently that the official release date is in February. Amazon has a formal listing now, as does Walmart.com (where the date originates), but no artwork yet, which seems suspicious . . . :?



The more you read and learn the more it is easier to find false material in all these books (even the great ones).


This is understandable, and I can live with it in modest doses, no matter who the author, especially if you feel that they're the kind of writer (like, say, Teo, or Bordwell) who would likely fix the error if it was pointed out to them, and if their publishers gave them the opportunity. If any one of us was to sit down and write a book, we should only expect to have others on the hunt for boo-boos. The hope is that they'd understand that reprints don't often happen, unless the book is a product of the print-on-demand market or something like that.

No one, however, but no one, will ever come close to the legendarily awful Asian Cult Cinema by Thomas Weisser. I won't throw this thread off track over him, though, as we already have this little gem:
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=42494
(note the first post has been updated over the years. Really gotta get on that again some time :lol: )


I think a mod should move this conversation to a new thread :D.


That never happens around here. Not enough bodies. I'll think up a new thread title at some point that covers both subjects. ;)
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Wed Dec 09, 2009 11:50 pm

Brian Thibodeau wrote:
Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:. . . or THE ODD ONE DIES -- FYI there is a good chance that Johnnie To directed several scenes in this one as well)


From what I gather—I haven't read that Stephen Teo book you've mentioned here—To actually directed, or mostly directed, three of "Yau's" pictures: ODD ONE DIES, EXPECTED THE UNEXPECTED and LONGEST NITE. In light of Yau's later work, this is tough to argue, especially when the man admits it himself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milkyway_I ... ontroversy
They're much more in To's style than they are in Yau's, which is immediately evident when you watch LOSER'S CLUB, which came after them. I remember, having enjoyed those three pictures so much, anxiously sitting down to LOSER'S and thinking, "this is the same guy that directed those other three? What's he been smoking?" It just didn't add up, even back then.


Yes he does admit in an interview to Teo that he directed ODD ONE DIES; though he seems in that interview much happier to take the credit for EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED and THE LONGEST NITE. While I have seen those two I have not seen ODD ONE DIES. To actually states at least one more film that he directed most of in that interview (I don't have it with me but I know the film) which I'll mention later :D.

Now I'm anxious to get ahold of LOSER'S CLUB. I've been looking for ODD ONE DIES for quite a while.

I'm still suspicious on THE AMAZON QUEEN. I was sent an email from amazon, saw a price and soon after the price dissapeared. I have not seen this movie since VHS days and really would like to finish a few lists where that film is holding them up (including one of the AFI 100 lists).
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:42 am

Masterofoneinchpunch wrote:Yes he does admit in an interview to Teo that he directed ODD ONE DIES; though he seems in that interview much happier to take the credit for EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED and THE LONGEST NITE. While I have seen those two I have not seen ODD ONE DIES.


If you were to include it in To's unofficial directorial filmography, ODD ONE DIES suddenly becomes a key work. His other directorial effort of 1997, LIFELINE, was solid filmmaking, slick but conventional in a lot of ways, much like all of his output before it. But then there's ODD ONE, in which what was likely a business decision—removing Yau from the helm—allowed him to experiment with visuals and themes that would become signatures from that point onward in his crime thrillers, starting with his very next one, A HERO NEVER DIES. Of the three films To claims to have ghost-directed, ODD ONE is probably the most oddball. I've long wondered if that was because he had to use Yau's scenes as a springboard, and as LOSER'S CLUB will attest, Yau is probably more wannabe-gonzo than To.


Now I'm anxious to get ahold of LOSER'S CLUB. I've been looking for ODD ONE DIES for quite a while.


It helps complete the puzzle, that's for sure. ;)
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby cal42 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:54 am

Butting in on the Project A Part 2 aside (but getting slightly more on-topic later), I was really surprised a couple of weeks back when I saw the HKMDB front page and the film was about third in the highest rated list.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a fine film (although I really have to write a proper review for it at some point - a lot of my early reviews read like some snobby fanboy rant about "the good old days" and I'm pretty uncomfortable reading them now) but I was shocked how highly people regard it.

A lot of this come from the press I was reading when I first got into HK movies. I remember reading somwhere, and I think this is a direct quote, "both the sequels to Police Story and Project A underperformed at the box office". I remember thinking this was a shame, as both were worthy films (well, I have a few problems with PS2, but that's by the by).

And so I've been trawling through the DB and looking at films that supposedly bombed at the box office in their native lands, and I'm sure I'm either missing something fundamentally important with the data or something else is amiss.

For example, we're always told that John Woo's films weren't too popular in HK, but the information points to at least some of them being sizeable hits. Similarly, when I was planning an updated review of Eastern Condors (which I never ended up writing), I was struck by how much it raked in, having been told by a number of sources that it was a flop.

So I'd say the whole issue is confusing at best.
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:05 am

cal42 wrote:Butting in on the Project A Part 2 aside (but getting slightly more on-topic later), I was really surprised a couple of weeks back when I saw the HKMDB front page and the film was about third in the highest rated list.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a fine film (although I really have to write a proper review for it at some point - a lot of my early reviews read like some snobby fanboy rant about "the good old days" and I'm pretty uncomfortable reading them now) but I was shocked how highly people regard it.

A lot of this come from the press I was reading when I first got into HK movies. I remember reading somwhere, and I think this is a direct quote, "both the sequels to Police Story and Project A underperformed at the box office". I remember thinking this was a shame, as both were worthy films (well, I have a few problems with PS2, but that's by the by).

And so I've been trawling through the DB and looking at films that supposedly bombed at the box office in their native lands, and I'm sure I'm either missing something fundamentally important with the data or something else is amiss.

For example, we're always told that John Woo's films weren't too popular in HK, but the information points to at least some of them being sizeable hits. Similarly, when I was planning an updated review of Eastern Condors (which I never ended up writing), I was struck by how much it raked in, having been told by a number of sources that it was a flop.

So I'd say the whole issue is confusing at best.


Project A Part II did not bomb, not even close :D. When doing my review for that film (I will post it tomorrow it is currently over 1200 words), I found so much bad information out there that I am thinking about posting about it.

What is amiss is the amount of bad info (people not thinking when they are doing there review). But sometimes people want to create a different reality. WHat I mean is that reviewers want their favorite directors to appear as if the home audience doesn't get them. While that may be the case for some of Wong Kar-wai's work, John Woo has been very popular at HK.

I have no idea how many people read my reviews :D.
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Tue Dec 22, 2009 11:57 pm

cal42 wrote:Don't get me wrong, I think it's a fine film (although I really have to write a proper review for it at some point - a lot of my early reviews read like some snobby fanboy rant about "the good old days" and I'm pretty uncomfortable reading them now) but I was shocked how highly people regard it.


As its users age, the internet will force a lot of them to confront some of the strange things they've written, especially on sites where the material is locked in, so to speak. If they're still writing at that time, it's probably an abject lesson in getting it right the first time, which is no easy task for the developing fanboy. :lol: My own online reviews only date back about four to five years—to the time when I bought my first home computer; talk about being behind the curve—and most were written at a time when (I hope) I was mature/aged enough to avoid the fanboy curse, although on a technical level, most of you here leave me in the dust.



A lot of this come from the press I was reading when I first got into HK movies. I remember reading somwhere, and I think this is a direct quote, "both the sequels to Police Story and Project A underperformed at the box office". I remember thinking this was a shame, as both were worthy films (well, I have a few problems with PS2, but that's by the by).


Depending on the era you're talking about, I suspect there's a very good chance that at least some of the "press" you were reading was, in fact, "fanboy" press, which probably didn't help matters. I guess I'd call it the Impact Effect, as it reminds me of a time when a British action movie magazine called Impact (editor: unknown ;) ) was one of the few sources of Hong Kong cinema information in my paltry little hometown, so I trusted it, along with Tom Weisser's hideous tome. Looking at those issues a few years ago (as a prelude to recycling them), I was amused at how easily my impressionable mind had been hoodwinked, and amazed at how much more I'd learned since those days. Granted, the internet was (and is) a huge help, but coming to it much later than virtually everyone else (you'd think Canada was a third-world country), I was spared participating in some of the more fanboy-ish discussion groups/forums of the era. Not that today's forums are entirely an improvement, but they've evolved quite a bit.



And so I've been trawling through the DB and looking at films that supposedly bombed at the box office in their native lands, and I'm sure I'm either missing something fundamentally important with the data or something else is amiss.


Definitely "something else" is, or was, amiss. I think Shawn's thoughts above hint at it rather well.



For example, we're always told that John Woo's films weren't too popular in HK, but the information points to at least some of them being sizeable hits. Similarly, when I was planning an updated review of Eastern Condors (which I never ended up writing), I was struck by how much it raked in, having been told by a number of sources that it was a flop.


So I'd say the whole issue is confusing at best.


The problem is, of course, the availability of Hong Kong box-office stats in any consistency, which is why I started this topic. It seems like someone here was able to get box office statistics for one hell of a lot of 80's and 90's films, but after that, the well really starts to run dry, to the point where, now, almost no recent Hong Kong pictures have relevant box-office statistics attached to them. This probably helps fuel a lot of speculation out there about the financial success or failure of contemporary Hong Kong cinema. :(

For example, I've recently been on a bit of a Patrick Kong bender, prompted by my first viewing of this year's LOVE CONNECTED. Having only seen one of his older movies many years ago, but owning all of them on DVD in my unwatched mountains, and reading about Kong's peculiar take on modern romance in the legit HK press and elsewhere, I decided to watch all of his other films to get a grip on his unique brand of storytelling. Having finished them all, my own estimation was that Kong peaked with L FOR LOVE L FOR LIES, as it's by far the best film he's done, and a nearly ideal coming-together of all his idiosyncrasies. You can feel the buildup to it in MARRIAGE TO A FOOL and LOVE IS NOT ALL AROUND, and you can feel him scrambling to keep it fresh in FORGIVE AND FORGET and LOVE CONNECTED, and largely failing.

That said, I'd love to know if the box office figures for all of his pictures corresponds to the obvious creative arc that spans them, or if he's still filling theatres by simply reheating the same ingredients, something he's accused of in online reviews (by pros and fanboys alike, it seems, only the former are more likely to place the films in their proper regional context as a backgrounder). The Variety review of L FOR LOVE L FOR LIES, posted April 9, 2008, claimed the film had raked in "$1.5 million" since it's debut on March 13, barely a month prior, but it doesn't specify if that's in U.S. dollars or Hong Kong dollars. I have a feeling it's U.S. dollars, as other sites corroborate the film's popularity with local audiences, all of which makes Kong a formidable player in the industry (and one who's all to keen to revisit the same well, as in LOVE CONNECTED, knowing audiences will still pony up because of his name being attached). But you wouldn't know that from looking up his movies in our DB, as none of them have box-office statistics.

And of course, the issue of LOOKING FOR MISTER PERFECT is still out there. It certainly wasn't a runaway smash, and I wasn't even particularly fond of it, but it did attract people to the cinema in modest numbers during an international health crisis, something John Charles seems to ignore. Either that, or he's applying 80's and 90's concepts of box office success in Hong Kong cinema to movies made post-millennium, which is likewise rather dodgy.
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby dleedlee » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:11 am

he problem is, of course, the availability of Hong Kong box-office stats in any consistency, which is why I started this topic. It seems like someone here was able to get box office statistics for one hell of a lot of 80's and 90's films, but after that, the well really starts to run dry, to the point where, now, almost no recent Hong Kong pictures have relevant box-office statistics attached to them.


I'm guessing it was Ryan Law.
HK Top Ten Central Box Office used to publish weekly box office numbers to newsgroups like alt.asian-movies and soc.culture.hongkong.entertainment. Then, they were injunctioned against providing those figures. I vaguely recall another site with b.o. but I never frequented it so I wouldn't be able to remember its name.
Wolverine's site used to be on Geocities.com and now has landed here after Yahoo shut Geocities down: http://hktopten.emenace.com/ also without box office numbers but the design remains the same. Presumably, the old archives would have them but only a few years are currently available, and/or the usenet groups above, but anymore they are harder and harder to search. I emailed hktopten earlier this year about restoring the older archives but received no reponse.

Perhaps it's City Entertainment that published them, as mentioned here in this 1996 post:
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.asia ... 16583af1b0
Alternate view, scroll to bottom for b.o.
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.asia ... ode=source

Found this article about City Entertainment, formerly Film Biweekly:
http://www.china.org.cn/english/MATERIAL/230624.htm
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Dec 23, 2009 1:48 am

Interesting links. I guess more up-to-date info's out there if we want it (see below), but I just wish it was here as well.

Variety gets the Hong Kong figures from Rentrak, but it seems they (probably wisely) show only the week-by-week grosses, rather than the cumulative hauls, as far as I can tell. Still, it's better than anything we've got right now:

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout ... ong%20Kong
(may require membership, if you don't have it

or try here:

http://www.variety.com/index.asp?layout ... ernational
(scroll down a bit and you can click the "HKG" button. As I write this, STORM WARRIORS is packing 'em in)

Also, IMDB's Box Office Mojo also provides detailed information, but their charts are always several weeks behind Variety's. Not that I'm keen on the idea, but perhaps we could steal what we need from there?

http://boxofficemojo.com/intl/hongkong/ ... =43&p=.htm

This information is critical, and it absolutely ridiculous that we don't post it anymore, or even take the baby steps to ensure that we might be able to down the road, such as generating revenue through Google Adsense or various online retailer affiliate programs to get a little funding instead of expecting only the users to foot the bill (generous though we've all tried to be).

Additionally, it might help refute the wheezy old claims, made here on too many occasions for my liking and elsewhere by the supposed fanboy literati, that Hong Kong cinema has been DOA at the box office since JURASSIC PARK and, later, TITANIC. It may not be bringing in the numbers it once was, but it's still putting local bums on local seats.

To wit, the Hong Kong box office chart for 2009 (so far, I guess). I see some very respectable earners on this chart, all things considered. I believe the figures are in U.S. dollars as well.

http://boxofficemojo.com/intl/hongkong/yearly/

Top movie of the year as of late October? ALL'S WELL END'S WELL 2009, with US$3,179,545 or HK$24,656,048.11. That ain't hay, folks!
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby dleedlee » Wed Dec 23, 2009 2:30 am

Yeah, I noticed Variety now requires registration to view their articles and reviews. Pffft..

Did anyone besides Ryan ever update box office numbers here? Not something that I'd ever volunteer for, it's hard work! I think b.o. numbers can be misleading, if one mixes HK,Mainland, SE Asia,International numbers, for example. You know, lies, damn lies, statistics, box office!

I like the BoxofficeMojo link, presumably the numbers are for HK only?

Storm Warriors is packing them in but I've read that the story/plot is weak, mainly eye candy...just like Hollywood. :) Aaron, or was it Ekin, promised that FW3 would have a better story.
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Re: Question about boxoffice for LOOKING FOR MR. PERFECT (03)

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Wed Dec 23, 2009 5:18 am

dleedlee wrote:Did anyone besides Ryan ever update box office numbers here? Not something that I'd ever volunteer for, it's hard work! I think b.o. numbers can be misleading, if one mixes HK,Mainland, SE Asia,International numbers, for example. You know, lies, damn lies, statistics, box office!


Something's better than nothing. :) And if we had it before, we could have it again. Doesn't necessarily have to be a one-man job, either, or a quick one. If we had the fields in which to enter the info, we could do so as time permitted and as the info became available. Even a casual pace is better than the big nothing we have right now for box-office of the past few years.


I like the BoxofficeMojo link, presumably the numbers are for HK only?


As far as I can tell, yes. They don't attribute them the way Variety does, but I suspect think they're from Rentrac as well, since that seems to be the premier company for such things. I'm not sure regional figures (i.e. China+Taiwan+Hong Kong=$$$) are very common in the trades. I'm sure the studios like to know the overall Asian tallies, but for us, box office performance of Hong Kong movies IN Hong Kong should be a continuing feature of the site. If China figures are available, then we could add those for the Mainland movies. Same for Taiwan boxoffice for Taiwanese movies etc. Although it doesn't appear that those two countries provide info at the moment.

In theory (mainly because I can't picture any one person wanting to take on the task as it should really be an ongoing group effort), we could have three key "Chinese box-office" fields under every single title (Hong Kong; China; Taiwan), so that as time goes on, we (or our descendants :lol:) can add them as they become available. If reliable info can't be found (China and Taiwan figures are probably difficult to get), the field stays blank. Such statistics would serve the same purpose the existing ones in the DB do: simply to show how much a particular movie made in a particular city/country only. Nothing more. No worldwide grosses, etc. Just a little extra . . . something . . . so that we could compare performances of movies that, at the moment, we can only make assumptions about, or be given specious information about, such as Mr. Charles' claims about MISTER PERFECT.



dleedlee wrote:Storm Warriors is packing them in but I've read that the story/plot is weak, mainly eye candy...just like Hollywood. :) Aaron, or was it Ekin, promised that FW3 would have a better story.


Well, it sounds like it's popular enough for them to consider another sequel! Works for me. I don't mind eye candy Hong Kong pictures once in a while, either. I still thing LEGEND OF ZU has a lot going for it in that department. Story? Well . . . Guess I'll have to wait and see on STORM RIDERS 2, but it was a foregone conclusion that it would at least attract a sizeable audience, so here's hoping some of those reviewers were just against it from the outset. :lol:
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