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A Case of the Monday part 2

Some surprises out there, but still a slow news day. Of course, it’ll still take me forever to write.

- Hong Kong Sunday numbers are surprisingly even. Over the years I’ve been tracking the box office, it’s not very often that I see the top 10 all in at least those 6 figures, but it seems like there was enough diversity in the box office to warrant a healthy take for everyone.

As expected, Ghost Rider takes in an average $990,000 on Sunday for a HK$3.47 million total after 4 days for the number 1 spot. The filmgoing bourgeois showed up for the second weekend of The Queen, commanding HK$350,000 on 14 screens in a far second. It now has a HK$3.27 million total after 11 days. The Lady Iron Chef gain quite a bit from its spectacular failure on Thursday (although it might’ve been just previews) with a HK$280,000 on 26 screens, which is around the amount the last Wong Jing produced film, the spectacularly dumb stinker Kung Fu Mahjong 3, did. With HK$770,000 as its 4-day total, don’t expect it to go far past HK$3 million.

Super-duper blockbuster 300 had its preview showings over the weekend (2 shows a night), and it earned HK$190,000 on 31 screens for a HK$640,000 total after 6 shows. Its official opening comes this weekend, and by the hype from its success in America and perhaps good word-of-mouth, 300 could go far. Japanese blockbuster tearjerker Tears For You earns a better-than-Midnight-Sun gross of HK$110,000 on 9 screens for a HK$420,000 total and probably won’t make it to the $1 million mark. Dreamgirls and Letters From Iwo Jima holds on to their limited release success with HK$140,000 on 10 screens and HK$120,000 on 5 screens, respectively.

- The South Korean box office is also out, and after the boost February gave to local films, March seems to signal a bit of a slowdown. Anyway, Korea Pop Wars have their usual analysis.

- Japanese movie rankings are out as well, and personal favorite (I seem to report on those a lot, don’t I?) and my childhood idol that is not named Aaron Kwok Doraemon’s new movie is in first place. Heartwarming baseball film Battery debuts in second with a strong 185 million yen opening (analysis by Hoga News), as the Genghis Khan movie falls to third (but with a gross that’s probably fairly close to its disappointing debut.). Other than that, until I see those percentage changes, it wasn’t a very exciting weekend in Japan.

- More exciting is those Japanese drama ratings, as the ultra-expensive Karei Naru Ichizoku surges for its second-to-last episode with a 24.9 rating, its highest since the premiere (which makes me wonder why do so many extra people tune in to the end of serial drama, when they hadn’t been keeping up). Those popular flowery boys aren’t weak either, but their ratings dropped just a bit for a 21.9 rating. Nakama Yukie’s drama ended with a whimper this week after 9 episodes with a 11.7 rating (although I’m not sure whether it was cut short, or it was just meant to be this short) and an overall 12.7 rating. I think she’s due for another installment of Gokusen for a popularity boost. Lastly, Haken No Hinkaku goes into home stretch with a consistent 19.9 rating this week (same as last week). As mentioned yesterday, the three major dramas are wrapping up this week. Turns out Haken No Hinkaku may be wrapping up next week instead. Either way, it’ll be huge, huge, I tell you!

- Variety Asia has a profile on Toho’s life achievement award-receiving chairman Matsuoka by Mark Schilling (Critic for the Japan Times). Despite being the chairman of Japan’s biggest studio, he still maintains that Hollywood should be dominating the market with a 60% share in Japan. “That way, everybody wins.” Right.

- I’m a fan of Haruki Murakami. Honestly, he’s the only author I consistently read (that is, if I ever decide to read). I haven’t bought his latest short story anthology “Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman” yet because I’m waiting for the paperback, but now the translation for his latest After Dark is finally arriving. I still have quite a few books to catch up, so maybe I’ll be reading this in 5 years or so.

- Connecting from Lovehkfilm’s Sanjuro’s blog, the big honcho at Lovehkfilm also put up his review of The Pang Brothers’ The Messengers.

- Miss R over at Sardonic Smile has a cool profile of Hong Kong’s hippest MTV director Susie Au, whose latest film MingMing will debut at the Hong Kong International Film Festival this year.

- Variety Asia also has a report on how last year’s Thailand military coup has affected the TV market. Despite reports about how the coup didn’t affect Thailand much (since apparently they get quite a few of these over the years), it sounds more serious than it looks.

- Asian Cinema - While On the Road has a review of the book “Asia Shock,” which I agree I would not read just based on the title alone (I, too, hate the stereotype that Asian films represent some type of carnal or violent extreme). But it seems like the book does pick some good mainstream titles. No, Ichi the Killer is NOT a mainstream film anywhere in the world.

- Variety also has reviews for Shu Qi’s big Korean debut “My Wife is a Gangster 3″ (I wisely stopped watching at 2) and a disappointingly short review for the Japanese horror flick “The Slit-Mouth Woman.” They also have a review for Confession of Pain, but it’s full of spoilers, so forget that.

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