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Nippon Tuesday

Lots of Japan news today:

- Japanese box office numbers are out, with Dororo and Pursuit of Happyness staying put at first place and second place, respectively. The big Japanese opening this weekend would be Ryoko Hirose’s Bubble Fiction: Boom or Bust (or Bubble He Go! in Japanese), and it only mustered a 4th place opening with 140 million yen. According to Eiga Consultant, that’s only 49% of Shibasaki Kou and Yuji Oda’s “The Prefectural Star” (also currently flopping big time in Hong Kong so bad that it never appeared on the top 10 on mov3) and only 76% “Udon,” which grossed a total of 1.36 billion yen (121 yen=$1). Looks like it’ll struggle to the 1 billion yen mark, depending on word of mouth.

The other big Japanese opening “Tengoku wa Mattekureru” (Heaven Can Wait, Maybe) scored only a 9th place opening with 59 million yen.

As for other openings, Kevin Costner’s The Guardian (which has been advertised quite aggressively in Japan, at least when I was there) opened at 3rd with 178 million yen, which is quite auspicious, considering the domestic gross of only $55 million.

Source: Box Office Mojo

- Hoga Central reports that the Japanese Genghis Kahn film “Genghis Kahn: To the Ends of the Earth and Sea” will open on a record 425 screens come March 3rd. It’s also known to be one of the most expensive Japanese productions ever with a $30 million budget. Twitch has their own report, along with the strange looking trailer where Mongolians are now proficient in Japanese. Honestly, how do they write Japanese dialogue for a film that took place some thousands of years ago? Classical Japanese? As long as they don’t start suggesting that Genghis Kahn is actually Japanese, then I wouldn’t mind checking it out.

Source: Twitch, Hoga Central blog

- Twitch also reports that the official site for Takeshi Kitano’s new film “Kantoku, Banzai!” now has a teaser up. And it is what it is: a teaser.

- In Japanese drama ratings that not many people care about, Kimura Takuya’s family epic extravaganza “Karei Naru Ichizoku” found its lowest ratings with 21.3, closely followed by “Hana Yori Dango 2” (Or the sequel of the Japanese ’s own adaptation of the Meteor Garden series), with a 21.0 rating. This season’s surprise hit “Haken no Hinkaku,” which has seen rising ratings since its premiere (it’s a fairly rare case that a drama’s first episode ratings are its lowest) finally sees its first drop to a slightly below-average 18.6 rating. Looks like “Karei Naru Ichizoku” will have to find some way to pull in viewers or risk having to stand those “you lost to a group of boys with the word ‘flower’ in their name” jokes for a long time.

- In other parts of Asia, Twitch also has the first review for Derek Yee’s much anticipated Protege. And the good news is that it doesn’t sound much like Traffic. I’m really looking forward to it now.

- Johnnie To has also apparently signed a deal to make his English debut - a remake of the French film Le Cercle Rouge. Good news is the To is now asking legendary French star Alain Delon to be in the film (who is apparently quite interested), bad news is that it’ll be produced by the producer of Rush Hour Arthur Sarkissian. Judging from the plot of the French original, this seems like the perfect way for To to break into the West. Just don’t forget about Hong Kong!

Oh, John Woo is also making a film under this deal. After all the rumored projects he took up over the years, I don’t know what’s true and what’s not anymore.

Source: Variety Asia.

- In Korea, last week’s champ Voice of a Murderer drops about 50% this weekend, but still already has over 2 million viewers to become the top grossing film of the year so far. 200 Pound Beauty doesn’t count because it opened in December.

Source: Korea Pop Wars

- Finally, David Mamet has written a book about his experiences in Hollywood and advice for those who would like to enter that elite world. My favorite quote from the review on Yahoo News refers to film school: “One can study marching, the entry-level skill of the military, until one shines at it as has none other. This will not, however, make it more likely that one will be tapped to be the Secretary of the Army.” Mamet films are a bit of hit-and-miss for me, but you can’t deny that he’s a pretty damn good writer.

The review of the book is here.

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