Kenshin cashing in
It is fun keeping track of box-office numbers.
Even those of us who know less than nothing about the movie business - or any business - think we can gauge a movie's success or failure on a cursory glance at its opening weekend earnings.
But do any of us really understand this stuff?
Do the movie budgets posted on the Internet have any basis in reality? Do they even include marketing expenses?
What percentage of the profits do the movie theatres take?
How much are the actors making on the "back end"? And what is a "back end"?
Do the numbers mean different things in different countries?
Who really knows?
Not me, for sure.
For what it is worth, all I can really tell you is that the Rurouni Kenshin series seems to be doing incredibly well.
The first film, Rurouni Kenshin, made US$60 million (S$76 million) worldwide in 2012.
Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno, the first in a two-part sequel which opened in August, is already the fourth highest-grossing movie this year in Japan.
When the second part, Rurouni Kenshin: The Legend Ends, opened in Japan a couple of weeks back, it was the No. 1 movie there, bringing in 1.3 billion yen (S$15 million) over a three-day holiday weekend.
It has a strong chance of being the second highest-grossing flick this year at the Japanese box office.
Japan is an interesting market in that most of the top movies are home-grown.
In Singapore, for example, all top 20 movies for this year are from Hollywood.
In Japan, 14 of the top 20 are made in Japan.
That said, Frozen is No. 1 by a super-wide margin.
Oh, well. Let It Go is all-conquering.
Just FYI, Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno is among the top 50 highest-grossing movies in Singapore so far this year, coming in at 48 with more than $500,000 in box-office takings.
Awesome numbers for a flick like this.
Anyway, I am not really accustomed to talking about this business stuff, but I think it is important to talk about the fact that Hollywood film-makers are not the only ones capable of generating big bucks.
If you make movies packed with action and romance like these Rurouni Kenshin flicks, you will put butts in seats around the world.
It does not matter that we do not know the actors.
It does not matter that we do not know the language.
The actors are pretty. The swordplay is thrilling. The setting is exotic. It is simply tons of fun.
How could we NOT go?
It never ceases to amaze me how few "world film" producers bother giving the people what they want, and seem determined to alienate audiences.
Kudos to the Japanese for actually bothering to make real movies, and for proving they can also make real moolah.