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It’s a comeback

- Hong Kong’s mov3.com finally posted the Sunday numbers, and as predicted, those TMNT made a comeback after its dismal opening on Thursday to make HK$630,000 on 32 screens for a 4-day total of HK$1.84 million. Those 300 Spartans hold on to second place with HK$420,000 on 32 screens, but tied with the Smith family and their Pursuit of Happyness, which also made HK$420,000, but on only 16 screens. 300 has made an impressive HK$13.4 million after 18 days, and Pursuit has made HK$3.65 after 11 days.

As the only Hong Kong film left in the top 10, Danny Pang’s Forest of Death barely hangs on to a 4th place with HK$230,000 on 24 screens for a HK$2.85 million 11-day total. In limited release, Pan’s Labyrinth continues to play strongly with HK$60,000 on 4 screens on Sunday for HK$1.16 million after 18 days, while those screaming Rain fans realize I’m a Cyborg But That’s OK might just not be their cup of tea as it only earned HK$80,000 on 9 screens for HK$890,000 after 11 days.

- Speaking of box office, Eiga Consultant has declared Sakuran a relative success with 600 million yen after 28 days of release on 126 screens. Meanwhile, Hoga News has some results for other Spring break films as well.

- NHK dramas are not huge phenomenons in Japan, but really something that people watch out of habit. That’s why the daily 15-minute morning drama has scored fairly strong ratings over the years since people simply tune in everyday. But now even that staple is running into hard times as its latest drama (not clear if this is the daily morning one) scores record low ratings for its debut. Nothing is sacred these days, I tell you.

- I went to Tokyo Disneysea during my trip to Japan this past Christmas, and I was frozen. But I guess it’s comparatively warmer, otherwise it wouldn’t have attracted all these people.

- I wrote about Ping Pong director Fumihiko Sori’s new film, the animated Vexville, a while ago. Now Twitch has found some brand-new footage. Too bad I don’t care for animation much.

- Turning our attention over to South Korea, it seems like after the screen quota for Korean films was removed, the evil giant U.S. conglomerate has decided to also rape its TV industry as well by taking away the cap Korea has on foreign ownership in a broadcaster, among other things. Free trade, my ass.

- Meanwhile, Twitch has a review of the Korean blockbuster from 2006 - Tezza: The High Roller, which I’ve heard great things about, but keep managing to miss.

- One piece of news and one piece of editorial from Ming Pao:

News: Quentin Tarantino, the graverobber of Asian films, so to speak, is apparently planning to remake the martial arts classic The One-Armed Swordsman. The Chinese text as follows:

著名導演昆頓塔倫天奴上月底宣布,下一部電影將會是中國功夫片,會起用很多中國演員,雖 然會用英語對白,但肯定會配上中文字幕。他表示很久以前看過很多邵氏經典電影,對這些影片推崇備至,尤其是《獨臂刀》等作品,喜歡那種獨特的節奏感和故事 的張力。不過若他翻拍的話,會加入一些自己和現代結合緊密的元素。

Renowned director Quentin Tarantino announced last month that his next film will be a Chinese martial arts film with many Chinese actors. Even though the dialogue will be in English, he’ll definitely put on Chinese subtitles. He said that he’s seen many classic Shaw Bros. films and admire them, especially the “One-Armed Swordsman” series and its unique pacing and plot tensions. But if he is remaking it, he will infuse his own modern elements.

The original Chinese text is here.

Can’t this guy come up with his own martial arts movie without doing “homages?”

Ming Pao also has an editorial about the status of screenwriters - one of the most overlooked jobs in Hong Kong cinema. Excerpt are as follows:

這幾年有過不少港片市場調查,觀眾多指票房不好因劇本不濟。本地編劇待遇欠佳,不被尊重是劇本不濟的主因之一。要提高劇本水準,不是不停訓練人才就行。

There have been many market research regarding Hong Kong films in recent years, and audiences points that box office gross are low because the scripts are no good. Local scriptwriters not being treated well is one of the reasons are scripts are bad. To improve the quality of scripts, cultivating new talents is not the only solution.

編劇在電影行業中是弱勢社群,雖說是主創崗位,但酬勞往往比攝影、美術、製片還低,不兼任其他工作,可能沒法生活。

Screenwriters are weaklings in the film industry, despite their important creative role. But their wages are often lower than the cinematographer, production designers, and even production crew. If they don’t take on other careers concurrently, they wouldn’t be able to survive.

單提高劇本費是沒用的,政府應做的,是完善劇本的版權保障機制,令編劇將來可得到合理的報酬。

Just raising screenwriters’ fees isn’t enough. The government should improve the protection of script copyrights, allowing screenwriters to get fair reward.

對編劇來說,最重要不是劇本費有幾多,是劇本創作出來如何受到基本保障,無人偷他們的橋段,兼且可保留電影以外的版權,又有健康的分紅制度,就算零劇本費,也會吸引很多人參與。

To a screenwriter, the screenwriters’ fees isn’t the most important thing, but rather how the script can get basic protection after its creation. Ensuring that ideas aren’t stolen can protect copyrights and allow for a healthy bonus system. Even if the fee is zero, it would attract many more people to participate (in screenwriting).

在不公平的制度下,怎可能叫人用心創作?

How can people create under an unfair system?

好劇本不必然是用錢買的,優良創作環境,才最重要。

A good script isn’t bought simply with money. A good creative environment is really the most important thing.

Original Chinese text is here.

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