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Just Another Friday

We have quite a bit to go through today, so let’s start with what I promised yesterday first.

- Turns out Japan Times have some good reviews this weekend, starting with Linda Linda director Nobuhiro Yamashita’s new film Matsugane Potshot Affair and Mark Schilling giving a kind-of negative review. Then Kaori Shoji goes and gives a pretty positive review for Paris Je T’aime, a film that I saw in Hong Kong on my trip, loved, and even bought the DVD. It opens in the States on May 4th, so do me a favor and check it out, will ya?

The best part of the Japan Times Film Section update, however, is the interview they have with Letters From Iwo Jima screenwriter Iris Yamashita. It’s not especially insightful, but considering I haven’t seen much press with Yamashita (the press seem to go to Paul Haggis more, for the obvious reasons), it’s something worth checking out.

- Hong Kong Thursday (opening day) numbers are out, and it looks be a pretty weak weekend. The weekend’s widest opening, the Pangs’ The Messengers, opened on 29 screens and got HK$270,000 for third place behind Night at the Museum and Protege. Among limited releases, The Queen opened to a very healthy HK$230,000 on 14 screens towards a very healthy weekend, Dreamgirls opened on 10 screens and got HK$90,000, and Letters From Iwo Jima opened on 5 screens with an HK$80,000 gross (with a 10% ticket price inflation due to length). Advance ticket sales are looking pretty weak, so The Messengers may come up from behind to pass Protege as second place, but overall the weekend doesn’t look to be very strong in ticket sales anyway.

- Sakuran seems to be doing so well even during the week (According to Cinema Cafe, after 5 days on 51 screens, the total admission so far is 63402 people) that it should reach 110 million yen (according to today’s exchange rate of $1=117 yen, that’s about $940,000) by Friday. For those of you in Tokyo, this Shibuya theater is promoting a special where a group of 3 or more can get in for 1000 yen each if the entire group (men AND women) shows up wearing kimono (that include yukata, guys). So get that cheap Uniqlo yukata (seriously, I really did it see one when I was there) out and head down to Shibuya.

Thanks to Hoga Central for the news.

- I reported about the box office for the film Bubble He Go! (which is a minor box office success now in Japan) for a few weeks now without actually talking about the film itself. Now Japundit has an introduction, in case you wanted to know more. I’m not that attracted by the idea, since I missed out on the pop culture explosion in the early 90s (I was too young to get it), but it seems interesting nevertheless.

- The lucky people in Japan will be the first in the world to be able to watch Spider Man 3 (a film that, despite my sometimes holier-than-thou taste, I have to admit to be looking forward to very much). Not only the film will get the world premiere at the Roppongi Hill cinema (what the allure to that theater is, I don’t seem to know) on April 16th, AND it will now open on May 1st, 4 days before the US debut and the first in the world to receive a wide release.

- Media Asia (who as I reported a few days ago admitted that Infernal Affairs is actually based on a Japanese comic) will be pouring HK$500 million for 2007, including several new films by Milkyway (they distributed Breaking News, Exiled, and 2 Become 1, to name a few) and the new Peter Chan film, now titled “The Warlords” (can there be a more generic title than that?). They also struck multi-film deals with Dog Bite Dog director Soi Cheang and Johnnie To.

- A poster at the Mobius forum found three articles by local free paper The Guardian about Bong Joon Ho and The Host. I also seem to have mistaken that the showcase coming on Monday will include The Host. It will only feature Barking Dogs Never Bite and Memories of Murder, both are worth watching anyway.

- Just in case anyone has a couple of million dollars to spend, the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo (which include Filmart for international buyers, the Hong Kong International Film Festival, and the debut of the Asian Film Awards this year) will be expanding by a quite a bit this year.

- Twitch today has an impressive set of reviews for all the mainstream American DVD releases in February….except for Flags of Our Fathers. You can read it all, or just read the ones that you care about, like I did. It’s your choice, and it’s an impressive report regardless.

- Lastly, Hong Kong televised its first chief executive debate, and why am I talking about it, you ask? Because it sounds pretty damn entertaining. Of course, it would mean more if Hong Kong citizens actually get to vote for their chief executive, because there’s not really a point for this debate when the “election” is decided by 800 middle-aged to old Chinese men. For now, it just feels like a “Who wants to be a Communist ass-kisser” popularity contest.

Updates may be sparse in the next week. Well, just maybe, you can’t get rid of me that quickly.

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