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Two hits, and everything else are flops

-Let’s start with those Thursday opening day numbers from Hong Kong. Following suit from America’s surprise success, 300 opened huge on Thursday with a HK$1 million from 33 screens. This will probably be one of Warner Bros’ biggest opening weekends in the region when it’s all said and done.

Too bad the same can’t be said for anything else opening, even Japanese blockbuster Dororo, which was so heavily promoted that even the rumored romancing stars showed up to Hong Kong for the premiere, opened only with HK$60,000 on 18 screens. Maybe business will pick up by the weekend, but I believe the fork is almost stuck into it already. Even cheap Hong Kong horror flick The Haunted School (produced by shitmaster Andrew Lau), which opened with HK$50,000 on 14 screens, got a higher per-screen average!

Some of the better (and I only mean that in a relative sense) openings include Hannibal Rising, which made HK$200,000 on 21 screens (look for it to get past the HK$10,000 per-screen this weekend), and Pan’s Labyrinth (which I think they should’ve opened before the Oscars) got HK$60,000 on 4 screens for the best per-screen in limited release right now. Last week’s champ Ghost Rider looks to suffer a heavy drop with only HK$ 190,000 on 34 screens.

- Speaking of hits, looks like after a string of failed foreign runs, The Host has finally become a hit in China, where it topped the box office in its opening weekend and praised by critics (it was praised by critics in the States too, so what’s with that crappy opening weekend?). Meanwhile, Variety Asia has a more solid report on its financing process and just how big of a hit it really is (for an Asian film to have a net profit of double its production cost is pretty damn amazing).

- I found a funny Youtube clip last night of a commercial featuring Kimura Takuya and Babel star Rinko Kikuchi (whose nude scenes were deemed too “sexually explicit” and cut by the Chinese censors, deeming that entire section pointless. Yay for destroying films.). Basically, the screen looks so nice that the moon on the screen was enough to turn KimuTaku into a werewolf.

- What happens when you can’t make a sequel to your hit film because your talents won’t commit? Animate them! The hit fantasy film Storm Riders is getting the sequel treatment through the magic of 2D and 3D animation. Directed by Dante Lam (who co-directed the masterpiece Beast Cops but also responsible for the huge pile of shit called The Twins Effect), it will presumably follow the natural progression of the story as set by creator Ma Wing Shing. It’ll open in 2008 (which is probably the trailer is pretty crappy so far), and there were so many mistakes in that trailer with the English narration that I don’t even have time to go into it. I just hope the final product isn’t as boring.

- Speaking of trailers, Twitch also introduces the trailer for Lovedeath, the latest by Ryuhei Kitamura (Azumi, Versus). The trailer isn’t promising more than style over substance (what is up with that stupid two-gun twirl? And what’s up with that horribly written exchange at the end where the woman offers sex? It feels like it’s written by a third-year student of Japanese), which is pretty much what I’ve expected from Kitamura after the tolerable but overlong Azumi and the style-for-style’s sake hit-and-miss Versus.

- Variety Asia, in their continuing coverage of the Hong Kong Entertainment Expo (the more I read it, the more I want to go), has posted a preview of the first ever Asian Film Awards. But why it is on a Tuesday, I have NO idea.

- Like many Hollywood actors, Oldboy’s Choi Min Sik is heading to the stage for the play The Pillowman after announcing that he would not be appearing in any more films (nooooooo!) until South Korea restores its screen quota. Sounds like it should be another intense performance.

- There are two new members to the pop collective (it’s a better name than record-company-built cute young girls pop group) Morning Musume, and they’re Chinese (dun-dun-dun!). One of them actually auditioned to be on one of those pop idols show in China, and Japan Probe has the clip. Well, we can forget about her being the one with singing skills (the judge at the end, by the way, says that she sings like a child. No kidding).

- Lastly, Variety has posted a review of The Godfather (yes, that Godfather). Of course, a review now would use words like “masterpiece” “and “classic” (which I agree with), and not words like “overlong” and “confusing.” That’s because this review was written in 1972 when the film first came out. I wonder if that critic ever changed his mind about it eventually.

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