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We do news right, not fast

Note: This blog expresses only the opinions of the blog owner,
and does not represent the opinion of any organization or blog
that is associated with The Golden Rock.

Misinformation

- So remember over the weekend, Shochiku announced that the opening day box office was so high for the film version of Tokyo Tower that they expect it to surpass Kimura Takuya X Yoji Yamada’s 4 billion yen hit “Love and Honor?” Well, the Japan box office numbers are out, and Eiga Consultant can’t see how that’s possible. On its opening day, Tokyo Tower made only 196 million yen, which is 90% of the 1.41 billion yen-grossing Shinobi. In fact, its opening day gross was only 65% of what Love and Honor made on its opening day. You can compare the results yourself for Love and Honor and Tokyo Tower with those links. My own calculation (following the exchange rate BOM used for the respective weeks) actually showed that Tokyo Tower only made 53% of Love and Honor’s opening weekend, but that only furthers the point that Shochiku is lying out of their asses. This isn’t the first time Japanese distributors overestimated final grosses anyway; remember the Genghis Kahn movie? Exactly.

Elsewhere on the top 10, Blood Diamond seems to be hanging on thanks to word-of-mouth, and Sunshine opened weaker than I thought with only roughly $500,000. Otherwise, it’s been a pretty quiet weekend in Japan again.

- Meanwhile, South Korea had a fairly quiet weekend at the box office as well, with The Show Must Go On falling a sad 58% in its second week.

- The South Korean box office isn’t really looking all that bright for the summer either, with Hollywood offering Spiderman, pirates, and transformers, while Korea is offering horror flicks and….D-War?!

- The big news out of Hong Kong is not only Lau Ching-Wan’s best actor win at the Hong Kong Film Awards, but also fellow nominee Chow Yun-Fat withdrawing from John Woo’s epic The Battle of Red Cliff. It’s another “he-said-he-said” (there’s no she in this story) type of situation - producer Terence Chang said that the financiers can’t acquiesce to Chow’s request to pay his salary of US$5 million at once (which is reportedly 3 times the salary he got for Curse of the Golden Flower), while Chow’s side says that he got the script too late, which meant he couldn’t prepare early enough for a role that requires him to speak in Mandarin (Chow’s native tongue is Cantonese). He also said he already took a pay cut for not demanding a raise after the decision was make to split the films in two (um….they’re shooting it at the same time anyway). This is the second major blow to Woo’s ambitious US$70-million project after star Tony Leung Chiu-Wai dropped out due to the 6-month shooting schedule. Of course, the bigger question is whether Chow’s withdrawal will affect Woo and Chow’s legendary friendship.

- I read about this about a week ago in Oriental Daily, but I don’t remember reporting it. Anyone waiting for a Shaolin Soccer sequel can release half their breath. The good news is that there is a Stephen Chow-involved sequel being made, the bad news is that it probably won’t have anything to do with the first film. Fuji TV has teamed up with Chow to make a pseudo-sequel called “Shorin Shoujo” (Or Shaolin Girl) starring Ko Shibasaki as the title character and Bayside Shakedown helmer Katsuyuki Motohiro directing. It’ll be about a young girl returning from Japan after training at the Shaolin Temple and ends up helping out a college Lacrosse team. Shaolin Soccer co-stars Lam Chi-Chung and Tin Kai-Man will appear, Chow will apparently not. While in anyone else’s hands, this might be a bad idea, but I like Robot Productions and Motohiro enough that it might turn out to be a good popcorn flick.

- The big news coming out of Tokyo is the world premiere of Spiderman 3. Honestly, the only interesting part about the report is how making sequels actually keep down marketing costs and allow the studio to leave that for the production instead. Other than that, there’s no advance review out yet.

- Reading Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” (for a Comparative Literature class) and Kobo Abe’s “Woman in the Dunes” in the same quarter put me in a huge existential crisis. In other words, it was one of the greatest academic periods of my life. Anyway, I mention this because Criterion is releasing Teshigahara’s surprisingly faithful adaptation of Woman in the Dunes in July on DVD as part of a Teshigahara boxset. Anyone looking to get into an existential funk should check out this surreal classic.

- Like Warner Bros. in Japan, 20th Century Fox has struck a deal with Showbox (who distributed The Host) to finance and distribute South Korean films. This comes as no surprise to me since my Kick the Moon DVD was actually released by Fox already. Is this good news or not? Look at what Warner Bros. did in Japan and you might have an idea.

- Professor Bordwell is back from Hong Kong, and his first entry since returning tackles a subject that I, as a wannabe filmmaker, is actually immensely interested in. Many film viewers may not notice, but for me, the toughest part of editing a film is dialog scenes. Editing rely on a capturing a certain beat, and shooting dialog scenes are particularly tough because when you only have one camera, you have to shoot the scene many times at different angles, which can be tough for actors AND directors. Then when you have all that footage, you have to decide when to cut to which angle without ruining the pace of the scene. The cutting-in-between technique in dialog scenes is called “reverse shots,” meaning you start on one angle, then you cut to where the opposite angle where the camera shows where the initial shot was from.

Anyway, Professor Bordwell goes into how certain directors don’t use reverse shots. For me, it’s fascinating. Maybe for me only though.

- I’m sure many have heard about the Virginia Tech shooting allegedly committed by a disturbed neutralized South Korean student (please let it be known that he is a naturalized American citizen, not just some foreigner that went crazy on Americans) that killed 32 people, including himself. At one point, the Chinese press got a hold of reports that a Chinese student actually did the deed and ran with it (the local Chinese papers I saw today all have it on their headlines). During that time, the Chinese press ran into chaos, trying to decide whether to run the story or not, while the netizens reacted very quickly on the message boards. This is their story.

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